MANILA, Philippines – Heather Guino-o, the newest member of the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, has proven to be an excellent addition to the defending PVL Open Conference champions.
Joining the team late in the elimination round, Guino-o has become a versatile weapon off the bench for coach Rico de Guzman. But her best performance came on Wednesday afternoon, when she rescued the Lady Warriors from the brink of elimination.
Pocari was down 0-2 against the Air Force Lady Jet Spikers in Game 3 of their best-of-3 semifinals series, when Guino-o came through with back-to-back service aces to hand the Lady Warriors a 25-23 win in Set 3.
"Nabuhayan 'yung team ko, nabuhayan sila doon sa dalawang service ni Heather," De Guzman said after the game. "Doon sila sumigla."
Guino-o was not yet done. She scored four of her 10 attack points in the fifth and final set, helping the Lady Warriors claim a 16-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-10 win. The former Far Eastern University standout had 14 points, four of which came off her serve.
De Guzman had little to complain about regarding Guino-o's performance – only that his newest recruit was perhaps a little too quiet inside the court.
"Lagi ko siyang sinasabihan (kasi) napaka-tahimik na bata," De Guzman said of Guino-o.
"Pumapalo, rume-receive, nagse-serve – walang sinasabi," he revealed. "Kada timeout, sinasabi ko, 'Magsalita ka. Walang bayad.'"
Guino-o was mostly satisfied with letting her game do the talking for her, although she also followed her coach's pointers.
"Tina-try ko po 'yung sinasabi nila coach, ng mga ate ko na mag-ingay po ako. Ine-enjoy ko lang po," said Guino-o. "Feel free lang po na gumalaw, ganoon lang po 'yung ginagawa ko."
"Wala nga pong nawala, tapos mas nakatulong pa po ako sa team," she said.
De Guzman is hopeful that Guino-o's solid play will continue into the championship round, where they will play a surging Bali Pure squad in a rematch of the Reinforced Conference Finals.
For now, however, he is delighted at how his newest recruit performed in the big stage.
"Siya 'yung bumuhay doon sa team," De Guzman said of Guino-o. "Siya 'yung tumulong kay Myla (Pablo)."
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