Water Defenders, Cool Smashers start semis showdown
Mark Escarlote on Jun 03, 2017 08:32 AM
BaliPure opens its best-of-three semifinals series campaign against Creamline.
Top seed BaliPure battles an inspired Creamline side on Saturday in Game 1 of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference best-of-three semifinals series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Fresh from a nine-day break, the Purest Water Defenders resume action at 4:00 p.m. The match will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and livestream.
Behind veteran Thai import Jeng Bualee and American Jennifer Keddy and the power-hitting local duo of Grethcel Soltones and Risa Sato, BaliPure finished the preliminary round with a 7-3 win-loss record to occupy the no. 1 seed.
The Water Defenders will have a psychological advantage against the Cool Smashers after defeating the Alyssa Valdez-led squad in their two meetings in the prelims.
Despite coming off a 20-25, 23-25, 19-25, loss at the hands of the Power Smashers last May 25, BaliPure could still have the upper hand against the weary Cool Smashers.
Creamline needed to go through the round robin quarterfinals after a 4-6 outing in the prelims.
There, the Cool Smashers battled two straight five-set games, splitting each, before shooting down Philippine Air Force, 25-16, 26-24, 25-17, last Thursday to clinch the last semis berth.
Creamline looks at their good quarterfinals run as a rallying point to aim higher.
“Well, sabi ko nga, hindi puwedeng huminto. We should not stop by going to the semis only. Of course we are now in the semis, and we now have a chance for the Finals. Pag nasa semis ka, ibang preparation yun, pag Finals ibang preparation. So it's all about mindset,” said Cool Smashers assistant coach Oliver Almadro. “We just have to set our minds on what is above, we have to pray hard, and we really have to sacrifice a lot.”
Valdez will have a Thai guest player Kuttika Kaewpin and American Lindsay Schaudt as support with locals Jema Galanza, Pau Soriano and converted libero Francesca Racraquin.
Game 2 is on Tuesday while Game 3, if necessary, is on Thursday.
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