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Fifi Sharma shines in the latest victory while Akari maintains hope for semifinals

MANILA, Philippines — Focused on rebuilding their confidence, Fifi Sharma kept the Akari Chargers’ semifinal hopes alive with a 25-14, 25-21, 25-19 victory over the also-ran Galeries Tower Highrisers in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) second All-Filipino Conference on Thursday at Philsports Arena.

Sharma powered the Chargers with 12 points built on an efficient 10-of-17 attacking clip including two blocks as they won back-to-back games to improve to a 5-4 record, tying sixth placer Petro Gazz.

However, Akari’s semis fate is already out of its hands. It needs to win its last two games against Petro Gazz on Saturday and Creamline on Tuesday next week and hope No.4 Cignal (6-3) would lose its remaining two matches.

“Of course, I’m really happy. We were really trying to — we still are trying to use these remaining games so we can rebuild our confidence because we came from consecutive losses so it was heavy for the team’s morale,” said Sharma as Akari ended a three-game skid after sweeping Gerflor in Cagayan de Oro on Saturday.

“Right now, we’re rebuilding our morale, step by step. I feel like this is a good achievement for the team because we produced a convincing win,” she added.

Akari Chargers. –MARLO CUETO/

The former La Salle star attributed their winning streak to the sense of urgency of the whole team. Faith Nisperos also scored 12 points on top of nine digs, while Erika Raagas and Dindin Santiago-Manabat chipped in nine points each.

“What’s good about my teammates is they realize that we have things to work on. So especially when we’re losing, we talk through it, and we work 100% during practices for us to bounce back. I think this is also good because we get to know each other more through these losses kasi we overcome as a team,” said Sharma. “When we win, of course, we celebrate as a team.”

Akari coach Jorge Souza de Brito urged his wards to approach their games, one at a time despite being in a must-win situation.

“Step by step. We’ll prepare for the next one starting today. We’ve been studying them already since last week. Of course, it will be hard but their mindset is always fight together because you know, alone will do nothing so these guys know how we will proceed during the week,” De Brito said.

Sharma vows to keep on fighting as they continue to play with their backs against the wall.

“There’s always pressure, we have to overcome that challenge as a team because these are the most important games of the conference for us so we have to not just 100%, but the best we can,” she said.

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Galeries remained winless in eight games with Ysa Jimenez and Andrea Marzan carrying their team with 11 points each.

Fifi Sharma and Akari coach Jorge Souza de Brito on keeping their semifinal hopes alive. #PVL2023

Posted by Inquirer Sports on Thursday, November 23, 2023