American import Macy Ubben made a splash in her debut, buoying the Iriga-Navy Oragons over the Bali Pure-National University Water Defenders, 25-23, 25-23, 22-25, 25-19, for their first win in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The 26-year old Ubben prvided a game-high 27 points off 18 attacks, seven blocks, and two aces while her fellow foreign reinforcement Lauren Whyte added 17 markers.
Iriga-Navy head coach Edgardo Rusit commended his imports’ enthusiasm on and off the court for keying their success.
“‘Yung import very, malaking tulong sa amin ‘yan. Kasi hindi lang sila basta ‘yung kasama namin sa team, nagbibigay rin sila ng mga ideas nila eh,” said Rusit. “Ako nga ‘yung coach, pero kahit papaano, tumutulong din sila kung ano ‘yung mas maganda pa, kaya ang ganda ng blending ng team.”
After squeaking out wins in the first and second set, the Oragons crashed early in the third frame and allowed Bali Pure to extend the match. Rusit conceded that his team got too complacent.
“Siguro ‘yun ang time na medyo inisip siguro nila na kayang-kaya na ‘yung pangatlong set, pero noong naka-adjust ‘yung kalaban namin at naka-recover sila, ‘yun naman ‘yung ‘di namin nakuha agad. Lumayo kasi ng malayo talaga ‘yung score,” he rued.
But the Oragons quickly responded in the fourth set, going on a decisive 6-0 run that put them in the lead for good, 12-5.
The Oragons (1-0) take on fellow opening day victors PayMaya (1-0) on May 19.
The Water Defenders, who are comprised mainly of four-time UAAP Juniors champions Nazareth School of National University standouts, had Mhicaela Belen lead them in scoring with 17 points. Import Alexis Matthews and Princess Robles added 15 markers, apiece.
Bali Pure (0-1) faces the Petro Gazz Angels (0-1) next Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Iriga-Navy (3) – Ubben 27, Whyte 17, Acuna 9, Bombiya 7, Kim 5, Eguia 3, Dela Cruz 1, Serafica 1, Martinez 1, Ticar (L)
Bali Pure-NU (1) – Belen 17, Matthews 15, Robles 15, Doria 9, Soloman 8, Doromal 3, Paran 1, Diolan 0, Nierva (L)