Water Defenders turn back Cool Smashers for 1-0 semis lead
Mark Escarlote on Jun 03, 2017 06:16 PM
BaliPure moved a win away from a Finals berth.
Top seed BaliPure reasserted its mastery over Creamline to move a step closer to clinching a Finals berth in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference.
The Water Defenders silenced the large Cool Smashers crowd that trooped the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan by crawling back from a set down to draw first blood in the opener of the best-of-three series, 22-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-21, Saturday.
The trio of American import Jennifer Keddy, Risa Sato and Grethcel Soltones proved too much for the weary Creamline side to handle and the Cool Smashers dropped their third straight match against BaliPure.
Keddy finished with 24 points anchored on 13 attacks, six aces and five kill blocks to lead the Water Defenders. Sato had 13 while Soltones scored 11 for BaliPure, which pummeled the Cool Smashers with 50 attack points.
The Water Defenders banked on their solid net defense to keep the hitters of Creamline especially Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin and Alyssa Valdez in check as BaliPure scored 12 kill blocks.
Head coach Roger Gorayeb commended the all-around performance of Keddy.
"Si Jen ang ganda ng service. Yung blocking din talaga niya ang kailangan namin. Yung palo naman niya not very powerful, ang lambot nga eh pero mataas yung abot niya. Pero ang blocking niya ang talagang malaki ang naitulong," said Gorayeb.
Game 2 in on Tuesday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City. If necessary, Game 3 is on Thursday.
Creamline, which came off a long and tiring journey in the quartefinals to advance in the Final Four, was again on the losing end of its tournament head-to-head against BaliPure. The Cool Smashers were swept by the Water Defenders in their two preliminary round meetings.
Kaewpin finished with 16 points including 14 off kills while Valdez had 12 markers but had to bleed to get her attacks through the defense of BaliPure in a 10-of-49 spiking clip for Creamline. Jema Galanza had 10 points.
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