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24 on her 23rd: Valdez powers Bali Pure to 1-0 lead over Pocari

There were no breakdowns for the Bali Pure Purest Water Defenders this time.

The Purest Defenders conquered the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors behind Alyssa Valdez’s heroics in three tight sets 25-20, 25-19, 26-24 in Game One of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference semifinals series at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Birthday girl Alyssa Valdez buoyed Bali Pure to a splendid start in the first set, firing off strong serves that dislodged the slumbering Pocari back line. Dealt an early 1-6 gap, the Lady Warriors slowly worked their back with help from a stream of Bali Pure errors. Pocari crawled to a 18-all deadlock before succumbing to a strong Bali Pure late push. With Jem Ferrer at the service area, Bali Pure took six of the last seven points, highlighted by a Valdez down-the-line crush.

The second set was also tight, until Bali Pure shifted their gears midway through. With the match tied at 14, Valdez again bombarded Pocari with heated serves that sparked a 9-0 run, placing her team in a commanding position.

Through a better defensive effort and efficient attacking, Pocari were ahead for most of the third set until they managed to get a 16-13 leg up. Then, the Purest Water Defenders fought back, slowly tying the match then forcing a deuce. Valdez then delivered down the stretch, scoring the 25th point by setting up Kiwi Ahomiro’s game-winning ace.

Valdez poured in 24 points off 19 attacks, four aces, and a block while reigning NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones added 11 markers.

“It was a really good match. It was just key for us to make good plays down the stretch of the sets,” said Bali Pure head coach Charo Soriano “I thought we also limited our errors which was big because we were giving up a lot of errors that gave Pocari momentum.” .

Michele Gumabao and Elaine Kasilag each provided 11 points for Pocari Sweat, while an injured Myla Pablo managed just seven points.

#ReadMore  Customs vanquishes Bali Pure for Finals berth

“Actually si Myla is suffering from over fatigue. She just came from the hospital yesterday,” said Pocari Sweat head coach Rommel Abella. “Si Michele din is not cleared by the doctors but she doesn’t feel the injury naman kapag naglalaro.”

Game Two of the series will be on Saturday, 6:00 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores:

Bali Pure (3) – Valdez 24, Soltones 11, Ahomiro 7, Marciano 4, Gervacio 4, Tajima 2, Ferrer 1, Tan 0, Lazaro (L).

Pocari Sweat (0) – Gumabao 11, Kasilag 11, Pablo 8, Dadang 6, Malaluan 4, Baliton 2, Fajardo 0, Espelita 0, Nepomuceno 0, Gohing (L), Enclona (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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