Water Defenders complete playoff picture after downing Lady Warriors

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 30, 2017 08:44 PM
Water Defenders complete playoff picture
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. BaliPure turned in its best game of the conference to clinch the fourth and final playoff berth.

BaliPure got the game they have been hoping for just when they needed it the most on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Shockingly sweeping Pocari Sweat, 25-21, 25-16, and 25-23, the Water Defenders took care of business and took away the fourth and final playoff berth in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.

With his squad on a roller-coaster ride throughout the tournament, head coach Roger Gorayeb finally saw what he had been long been looking for in this one. “Maganda nilaro ng mga bata ngayon. Ganyan dapat nilalaro namin dati pa kaya nagpapasalamat tayo,” he said post-game.

Even the benching of top hitter Grethcel Soltones in the third set could not slow down BaliPure. “Walang nilalaro si Grethcel e kaya naghanap muna kami ng iba,” the head coach said.

That’s because Jerrili Malabanan and Risa Sato were only more than willing to step up and scored 14 and 10 points, respectively.

In the end, however, it was rock solid defense that came through for the Water Defenders as they shut down the Lady Warriors potent offensive to only 24 spikes. They particularly honed in on MVP contender Myla Pablo who was shut down and only had 10 points.

Much of that was courtesy of libero Lizlee Ann Pantone who had 27 digs all to herself.

It was also an attack error from Pablo that sealed the deal on the Water Defenders’ back-to-back wins to end the elimination round. “Ang sarap siguro kumain ngayon. Kahit tuyo lang, masaya kaming kakain,” Gorayeb said.

Now standing at 4-3, they avoided what would have been a knockout match against 3-4 BanKo-Perlas.

As such, they can set their sights on top-seeded Creamline which may be welcoming back Alyssa Valdez for the best-of-three semifinals series that commences on Saturday. “Best effort kami nyan. Patapangan lang ng loob yan,” Gorayeb said.

On the other hand, Pocari Sweat will be coming off a loss in their matchup with Philippine Air Force.

Jeanette Panaga also had 10 points in the losing effort. They wind up the elimination round at 5-2.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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