Balanced Water Defenders oust Cool Smashers
WE MEET AGAIN. BaliPure will be back to try for its first-ever championship once more against rival Pocari Sweat.
Up against a considerably weakened opponent, BaliPure took full advantage and took the remaining seat in the Finals of the 2017 Premier Volleyball League.
Behind a balanced attack masterfully orchestrated by Jasmine Nabor, the Water Defenders toppled top-seeded Creamline in straight sets, 25-22, 27-25, and 25-23 on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
With back-to-back wins at the expense of the erstwhile undefeated Cool Smashers, Roger Gorayeb’s crew has set another matchup in the championship round against rival Pocari Sweat. “Iba yung feeling pag championship na. ako, I will just rely on sa aggressiveness ng players ko na bumalik na,” he said post-game.
Dropping Game 1 of the best-of-three semifinal series before seizing a squeaker of a win in Game 2, it was a surprise for the head coach that they got the do-or-die Game 3 in such a dominant manner. “’Di ko ine-expect na tatlo (lang na sets),” the head coach said.
Nabor made it all happen with 44 excellent sets, many of which led to kills from Jerrili Malabanan who had 15 points, Grethcel Soltones who had 13 points, and Aiko Urdas who had 12 points.
However, it was middle hitter Risa Sato who finished the job once and for all just as Creamline was threatening to force an extension at 23-24. “Si Risa, kahit wala masyadong pinuntos, yung pinakahuling palo yung pinakaimportante,” Gorayeb said.
Sato wound up with seven points all while playing her part in putting up a wall that only allowed one double-digit scorer from their opponents in the form of Pau Soriano with 13 points.
Of course, the Cool Smashers were missing the services of top hitter Alyssa Valdez who is currently suiting up for the national team as well as head coach Tai Bundit who was not on the bench due to an illness.
Even Gorayeb was the first to admit that Valdez’s absence was a big blow to their opponents. As he put it, “Siyempre, yung Alyssa, if she is inside, minimum of 20 points.”
He then continued, “Pero we do not look at it as wala si Alyssa e. We have to play to the best of our ability kung sino man ang kalaban.”
That, his girls did and BaliPure will now be back trying for its first-ever championship. “Kailangang ma-reward yung mga bata sa pagsisikap nila,” the mentor said, talking about their motivation for the best-of-three Finals commencing on Saturday.
On the other hand, the curtain closes on Creamline’s campaign.
It was a campaign that began with seven consecutive victories only to end with back-to-back losses.
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