Valdez celebrates birthday with semis series opener win
Mark Escarlote on Jun 29, 2016 08:19 PM
Alyssa Valdez of BaliPure taps the ball away to elude the defense of Pocari Sweat.
Fans gave Alyssa Valdez a sweet gift and greeting before the game, BaliPure made sure the Purest Water Defenders skipper will have an even greater night.
Valdez celebrated her 23rd birthday with a 25-20, 25-19, 26-24, win over Pocari Sweat that gave BaliPure a 1-0 lead in the 13th V-League Open Conference best of three semifinals series Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Water Defenders made sure that the Lady Warriors won’t make another comeback run to move a win closer to a championship berth which is also a best-of-three affair.
Valdez finished with 24 points from 19 kills, four aces and a kill block while Grethcelk Soltones had 11 for the Water Defenders.
BaliPure recovered from a 20-22 deficit in the third set with a hit from Dzi Gervacio followed by a miscommunication between Pocari Sweat libero Rica Enclona and Lutgarda Malaluan. The Water Defenders stole the lead, 24-23, before Elaine Kasilag tied it for the Lady Warriors on a kill.
Valdez scored on an off the block kill before Amy Ahomiro sealed the game with a service ace after Pocari Sweat’s timeout.
“Teamwork and communication lang talaga,” said Valdez.
Game 2 is on Saturday at the same venue.
The win erased the tough loss of BaliPure in the eliminations against the same team, 25-21, 25-6, 24-26, 25-27, 19-17, last Saturday that snapped the Water Defenders’ five-game winning streak.
Pocari Sweat absorbed its second straight loss after dropping a four-setter to Air Force last Monday.
Kasilag and Michele Gumabao scored 11 points each in a losing effort while Myla Pablo, who was hospitalized the night before because of over fatigue, was silenced to eight points.
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