Reinforced Conference finalists Bali Pure Purest Water Defenders finally solved their losing woes, trumping the Akari-Adamson University Lady Falcons in four sets, 25-19, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20, in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
After two tumultuous outings, the Water Defenders found just enough of their old form to scrape by the Lady Falcons and even their record at 3-3.
Adamson kept the first set close, trailing 18-19 after an Eli Soyud hit. Bali Pure, however, took the next six points and escaped with the early lead. The Lady Falcons again came hard at Bali Pure early in the second set, building a 5-1 cushion. Bali Pure responded, whittling away at the lead until they broke away, 16-9. With Bali Pure at set point, 24-21, Adamson mounted a late comeback, with Chiara Permentilla throwing down two kills. An error, however, ended the Lady Falcons’ run and gave Bali Pure the 2-0 sets lead.
After coming close in the first two sets, Adamson got their breakthrough in the third frame. Capitalizing on Bali Pure’s reception struggles, the Lady Falcons raced to an 18-12 lead. Bali Pure came as close as two points, 20-18, but the Lady Falcons had too much offense for Bali Pure. The Lady Falcons pulled three late hits from team captain Jema Galanza to bag their only set of the match.
The fourth set had both squads trading blows early until Bali Pure finally broke away, 22-16, and clinched the match.
Relieved after finally winning again, Bali Pure head coach Roger Gorayeb lamented his team’s struggle in the past weeks.
“Masama situation namin, ‘di maganda nilalaro ng mga bata. Ilang laro na ‘yan. Nahihirapan din sila kasi, ‘di kagaya ng nakaraan, di kami nakaka-ensayo nang maayos,” Gorayeb revealed, as most of his team are still in college. “Ngayon pasok sila sa klase, tapos ensayo sa mother team nila, tapos ensayo ulit sa gabi. Exhausted na pagdating sa amin.”
Far Eastern University standout Jerrili Malabanan led the Water Defenders with 15 points, while reigning open conference MVP Grethcel Soltones added 14.
At 3-3, Bali Pure can solidify their claim on a Final Four spot with a win against the defending champs Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors (4-1) on July 30.
Eliminated from Final Four contention with a 1-5 record, the Lady Falcons had Jema Galanza lead all scorers with 18 points while newcomer Chiara Permentilla managed 15 markers.
Bali Pure (3) – Malabanan 15, Soltones 14, Sato 10, Nabor 8, Oliveros 8, Urdas 6, Cayuna 1, Mendiola 1, Singh 1, Pantone (L)
Akari-Adamson (1) – Galanza 18, Permentilla 15, Soyud 13, Perez 7, Cruz 4, Romero 2, Caole 1, Flora 1, Joaquin 1, Tempiatura (L)