By: Ohmer Bautista
With a strong desire to bolster their playoff bid, the BanKo Perlas Spikers picked up their fourth straight victory at the expense of Bali Pure-National University Water Defenders, 25-19, 22-25, 25-14, 25-19, in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Quarterfinals at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
BanKo head coach Dong Dela Cruz strongly believes that this win will pay dividends for his team’s tilt in the tournament’s remaining games.
“Very important,” he expressed. “Maganda ang feeling namin, nagpapanalo.”
After taking the first set, BanKo rode their momentum to put up a three point cushion, 21-18. BaliPure, however, crawled back and took the set with a 7-1 rally, capped by an Audrey Paran ace.
The Lady Spikers then leaned on imports Lakia Bright and Jutarat Montripila, who exploited BaliPure’s defense in a myriad of ways for a combined 13 set points, to take the third set.
Up by 3, 12-9, in the decisive fourth set, BanKo-Perlas further tipped the scale to their favor, going on a 9-2 spree that put the match away for good.
Despite finishing the game unscathed, coach Dela Cruz knows that the team have yet to see their peak form.
“Sinabi ko sa players na kailangan mag-step up,” he confessed. “Hindi pwedeng ‘yung imports lang ang [magdala]. Kailangan mag-contribute ‘yung mga locals talaga.”
But still, coach Dela Cruz did not shy away from giving props to his team due to their improvement in chemistry.
“Maganda na yung connection nila sa loob. Especially ‘yung setter namin at imports namin,” he expressed.
BanKo Perlas imports Bright and Montripila finished with 24 and 14, respectively.
Alexis Matthews and Janisa Johnson scored 17 and 13 markers respectively for BaliPure, who officially fell out of the semifinals race.
BanKo Perlas (4-0) will engage in a must-win game against the Petro Gazz Angels (3-1) on Wednesday, June 27. BaliPure (2-2) will seek to close out their season on a high note against the still-winless Tacloban Fighting Warays (0-3) also on Wednesday.
BanKo Perlas (3) – Bright 24, Montripila 14, Ahomiro 9, Gervacio 6, Dacoron 5, Tiamzon 3, Roces 1, Ferrer 0, Emnas 0, Villanueva 0, Tan (L), De jesus (L)
Bali Pure-NU (1) – Matthews 17, Johnson 13, Doria 8, Nisperos 8, Paran 8, Cagande 2, Robles 1, Lacsino 0, Nierva (L), Chavez (L)
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