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Perlas-BanKo stays in hunt for semis seat, escapes Bali Pure

Spiraling into a 0-2 sets deficit, the Perlas-BanKo Spikers came to life late and copped a five-set win over the Bali Pure Water Defenders 24-26, 13-25, 25-13, 25-22, 15-11, in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Water Defenders drifted into a lull at the onset of the match. With Perlas racing to an 8-1 lead, Bali Pure head coach Roger Gorayeb replaced starting setter Jasmine Nabor with newly-signed Angelica Cayuna. Along with the adjustment, Bali Pure pounced on Perlas’ sluggish defense to slowly whittle at the deficit. The Water Defenders tied the match at 20 but BanKo still head first crack at set point, 23-24. From there, the Water Defenders took over, starting with a hit from Grethcel Soltones and ending with back-to-back transition conversions from Jerrili Malabanan and Macy Mendiola to take a 1-0 lead.

Perlas’ struggles leaked into the second set as Soltones powered the Water Defenders to an insurmountable 16-6 advantage.

Bali Pure’s finishing problems, however, reappeared in the third set as they fell behind early. Coming within three of Perla, 11-14, the Water Defenders allowed BanKo to take the next nine points and handed Perlas a ticket to an extended match.

Perlas showed promise at the start of the fourth set but the Water Defenders regained their form through the consistent effort of former league MVP Grethcel Soltones. The former San Sebastian Lady Stag capped a 5-0 Bali Pure run that vaulted them to a 14-6 lead. Almost on cue, however, the Water Defenders lost control of the set. Scoring their last point off a Mae Tajima service error, 21-20, the Water Defenders dropped the next four points. Kathy Bersola put the set away with a quick tap on a mis-received pass.

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The fifth set was all Perlas as Kathy Bersola swiped one in past two blockers to give her squad a 9-5 lead. The Water Defenders gave one last gasp, coming within two points, 12-10. But the Perlas Spikers had Bersola and Ella De Jesus provided Bali Pure’s finishing kick.

“It was a matter of pride for us. Sabi namin bago mag-third set, if we lost today, tanggal kami from contention sa semis. We had to show that we wanted to win and keep out season alive,” the former UP Lady Maroon said after scoring a career-high 24 points off 20 attacks and four blocks.

Fellow UP alum Nicole Tiamzon added 20 points while De Jesus finished with 10.

Perlas stayed within range of a Final Four berth with a 3-3 card. They take on the Creamline Cool Smashers (6-0) on July 29 in their final elimination round match.

Soltones managed 20 points for Bali Pure who slid to a 3-2 record. The Water Defenders take on the Adamson Lady Falcons (1-3) on Wednesday.

The Scores

Perlas-BanKo (3) – Bersola 24, Tiamzon 20, De Jesus 10, Roces 9, Villanueva 5, Ahomiro 2, Ferrer 1, Tajima 1, Acevedo 0, Aguilar 0, Ancheta 0, Tan G. (L)

Bali Pure (2) – Soltones 20, Urdas 16, Nabor 14, Sato 9, Malabanan 7, Mendiola 7, Cayuna 0, Oliveros 0, Singh 0, Pantone (L)

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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