Soltones draws inspiration from NCAA heartbreak

Mark Escarlote on Jun 09, 2017 04:31 PM
Soltones draws inspiration from NCAA heartbreak
S’yempre isa din ‘yan sa naging inspiration ko kasi hindi namin nakuha last time ang championship dito (sa PhilSports) -- BaliPure's Grethcel Soltones

Grethcel Soltones remembered the last time she stepped out of the taraflex court of the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City four months ago.

It was a picture of gloom and disappointment.

Soltones with much effort tried to put up a smile as she approached her teammates who were already drowning in tears, sweat and frustration in their last huddle. They held a thrice-to-beat advantage but were beaten thrice by a feisty Arellano University side in the NCAA Finals. 

She recalled saying, “Lady Beast out. Promise n’yo babawi kayo next year.”

It was her last stint as San Sebastian College’s ace hitter. She won three straight NCAA Most Valuable Player but left with no NCAA crown to leave as legacy for the Lady Stags.

It was a heartbreaking Valentine’s Day for her and her former team.

Now back in the championship round but this time wearing the blue and white of the BaliPure Purest Water Defenders, Soltones vowed that there won’t be a repeat of that heartache.       

“Siyempre isa din ‘yan sa naging inspiration ko kasi hindi namin nakuha last time ang championship dito (sa PhilSports),” said Soltones, who helped the Water Defenders clinch a Finals seat in the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Thursday in a straight sets Game 3 semifinals series win over Creamline.

BaliPure tangles another powerhouse team Pocari Sweat in a best-of-three series that begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The match will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream.

Soltones and former SSC-R teammate Alyssa Eroa will try to erase their bitter memory in this historical venue as they go-all out to help American import Jennifer Keddy, Thai reinforcement Jeng Bualee and locals Jerrili Malabanan, Risa Sato, Aiko Urdas and setter Jasmine Nabor deliver the club’s first title since venturing into the sport a year ago.         

The Water Defenders swept the Cool Smashers in the series decider for its first Finals appearance after a couple of third place finishes in the V-League last year. 

“This time bagong laban na and hindi kami pwedeng mag-relax, we have to fight,” said Soltones, who is averaging 13.1 points per game. 

The series is expected to be a tight battle between two of the early title favorites.

“We have to be composed as a team,” Soltones said. “We have to clear our mind, important ‘yun bago kami sumabak ulit sa laban.” 

Game 2 is on Tuesday while Game 3, if necessary, is on Thursday.

 

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles

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