Water Defenders take crown off heads of Lady Warriors

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 16, 2017 09:09 PM
Water Defenders take crown off heads of Lady Warriors
FINALLY. BaliPure finally had enough to break through and bring home its first-ever championship.

BaliPure has been at the wrong end of Pocari Sweat’s dominance in the past two years.

Not anymore, now in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.

Riding the strength of Grethcel Soltones and the smarts of Jasmin Nabor, the Water Defenders dethroned the Lady Warriors following a well-earned four-set win, 25-20, 19-25, 25-23, and 26-24 on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Up two sets and only needing two points to win their first-ever championship, Roger Gorayeb’s girls turned to Soltones who did nothing but deliver with a crosscourt kill. “Masaya kami siyempre kasi pinaghirapan namin ‘to as a team,” she expressed afterward all while smiling ear to ear.

Rising star Nabor then registered the championship-clincher with a dump that fooled just about everybody.

Now, BaliPure stands alone atop the leaderboard, having felled Pocari Sweat which has won the last three conferences the two teams have competed in. “We don’t look at it as Pocari tapos babawi kami. Regardless kung sino man yan, lalao kami nang mahusay talaga,” head coach Roger Gorayeb said, talking about the fact that BaliPure lost to Pocari Sweat in the Finals of the most recent conference.

He then continued, “Lalaro tayo para mag-champion tayo kahit sino yan.”

That didn’t look like a possibility in the earlygoing, though, as the Water Defenders were sent into a 2-8 hole.

Soltones and Aiko Urdas rallied their troops, however, as they went on a vicious 20-9 run that eventually ended as a first set win.

The two teams then traded the next two sets before BaliPure again took control, 19-16, in the fourth frame.

Of course, Pocari Sweat still had the heart of a champion and battled back to tie the tally at 24-all to make things interesting.

It was at that point that Nabor set up Soltones’ spike and proceeded to score the point that, at long last, allowed the Water Defenders to break through. “Siya lagi ang key e. diskarte ng setter na talaga, hindi na spiker,” Gorayeb said.

Soltones wound up with 21 points, following up on her 14-point outing in Game 1.

That series-long brilliance was more than enough for her to be recognized as Finals MVP.

Backstopping her were Urdas and Risa Sato who scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, to help BaliPure close out the clean sweep of the championship round.

It was quite the turnaround for a squad that just narrowly made the Final Four and looked like they were far behind top three Creamline, Pocari Sweat, and Philippine Air Force at the end of the elimination round. “Yung pinagdaanan namin, iba e. We almost didn’t make it to the semis, pero the girls persevered,” the head coach said.

On the other hand, the campaign closes with a runner-up finish for the Lady Warriors.

Myla Pablo top-scored with 21 points all while playing through stomach cramps.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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