MANILA, Philippines — She’s still far from her peak form, but Motolite captain Myla Pablo finally made her debut for her team in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference on Wednesday.
Pablo’s return was highly anticipated, as Motolite had endured a rocky campaign without their top local spiker. The former National University (NU) star had been forced to miss the entirety of the first round as she dealt with a nagging back injury.
She managed to score just three points, and was still clearly not her usual explosive self. Yet everyone in the FilOil Flying V Centre — including their opponents, the Creamline Cool Smashers — were thrilled to see her back on the court for the first time in quite a while.
“Parati sa aming may surprise player eh,” joked Creamline setter Jia Morado, who piloted the Cool Smashers to a 25-15, 25-20, 25-23 triumph over Motolite.
Pablo was already cleared to play in Motolite’s previous game, but was held out by coach Airess Padda. Creamline captain Alyssa Valdez said that as surprised as they were to see Pablo in the starting six, she had no doubt that the veteran open spiker would deliver.
“I think not only contributing in terms of points, but also the leadership. I think she is one of the veterans in the team na kailangan talaga ng Motolite para magkaroon sila ng communication as a team,” said Valdez, who had 10 points in their win.
Valdez was glad that they were able to adjust to Pablo’s absence quickly, and also contain Motolite’s imports in Channon Thompson and Krystel Esdelle.
At the end of the game, they celebrated not just their win but Pablo’s return, as the powerful spiker had clearly been missed.
“More than anything, I’m happy that she’s back. Parang it’s about time na nakabalik na si Bagyong Myla Pablo,” said Morado.
The win, Creamline’s sixth straight, propelled them to the semifinals. Motolite, meanwhile, dropped to 2-5 in the conference though they remain in the hunt for a Final 4 spot.
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