First title is further motivation for us to keep present team in the PVL -- BaliPure boss
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 22, 2017 02:21 PM
The triumphant BaliPure Purest Water Defenders pose before the camera with their hordes of cheering fans as backdrop. Photo shows Cristino Panlileo (fifth from left, standing), chairman and major stockholder of BaliPure, a major water supplier in parts of Pampanga and Tarlac and manufacturer of bottled purified water, and Gil A. Cortez (extreme right), team consultant.
Amid the frenzied celebration on the court that followed the Purest Water Defenders’ capture of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference championship against the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors recently, the top honcho of BaliPure announced that his Mabalacat, Pampanga-based company is keeping the present team for the next season and the seasons after that.
Panlileo was ecstatic and breathless as he made the announcement to this writer, bursting into laughter next as he watched Risa Sato gather the scattered confettis in her hands to release it again in the air.
“This, our first title since joining the commercial league last year, is further motivation for us to keep maintaining a team in the PVL,” said the mild-mannered top honcho of the Mabalacat, Pampanga-based water supplier and bottler of purified water. “We have always said and I am saying it again that our company will always field a team in any tournament organized by Sports Vision. We are in this for the long term.”
An equally jubilant Gil Cortez, BaliPure team consultant, was telling sportswriters elsewhere on the court that he felt vindicated in his previous claim that it was the foreign guest players of the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors who had beaten them in the finals of the opening competition of the new PVL this year, the Reinforced Conference.
He had asserted then that his team carried the strongest local lineup. That heart-stopping Wednesday night, the Water Defenders, powered by the never-say-die Grethcel Soltones, proved his boast right.
“Talagang buwis-buhay ang nilaro ko sir,” said Soltones. “Talagang ibinigay ko sa Game 3 ang lahat ng best ko. Ganoon din ang mga teammates ko.”
“Sobrang super happy po” was all Sato could say when asked how she felt about BaliPure’s first championship.
Gel Cayuna, an eleventh-hour recruit from Far Eastern University, was having that top-of-the-world feeling. “Nagpapasalamat po ako at nakasali ako sa pinaka-solid na team sa PVL. Masayang-masayang-masaya po ako.”
Towards the end of the court celebration, libero Lizlee Ann Pantone opted to stay away from the raucous group, watching the spontaneous proceedings on the mounted TV screen teary-eyed. “Masaya lang po kaya medyo naiiyak ako.”
Up in the gallery Jerry Malabanan and his three younger daughters were watching the ever modest Jerrili, his firstborn, let her hair down in elation over winning her first championship in the Philippines since coming home for good from California in 2013 to be able to play collegiate volleyball here with the FEU Lady Tamaraws in the UAAP.
“We lived for this moment when Jerrili would win her first title with any local team,” said the senior Malabanan, who brought in a group of 44 at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City to watch the deciding match. “The family is very proud of her.”
No sooner had Grethcel hammered in the final point that broke the backs of the Lady Warriors than Jerrili’s mom phoned her dad from Placentia, California, to let the family know that she watched the whole knockout game with their relatives via The Filipino Channel starting at six in the morning.
“I wish I were there to share with you that moment we have been waiting for,” Malabanan quoted her wife Liberty as telling him.
Mrs. Malabanan is the only one in the family who stayed behind in the US to continue her office work for a maritime company.