Last conference’s runners-up Bali Pure Purest Water Defenders dug deep in their first match of the Open Conference, escaping the Power Smashers in five sets, 25-15, 22-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-16, Sunday evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Water Defenders needed to rally from 1-2 sets down. According to head coach Roger Gorayeb, Bali Pure struggled to manage their emotions.
“Naging masaya sila na parang mananlo na sila noong lumamang kami ng isang set at lamang kami noong second set. Okay lang maging masaya kasi lamang pero kailangan hindi bumaba ‘yung laro namin,” Gorayeb said.
The Water Defenders, however, mustered a splendid rally on former PVL MVP Grethcel Soltones’ offense. The three-time NCAA MVP powered in 11 of her 22 points in the last two sets. She was instrumental in Bali Pure’s finishing 9-1 run in the decider.
“Ang maganda kay Grethcel masasabihan mo talaga siya. Open siya lagi for a challenge. May image na siya na ace spiker so kailangan niya na panindigan ‘yun every game,” added Gorayeb, who coached Soltones in San Sebastian College.
National University middle hitter Risa Sato added 18 points, while FEU’s Jerrili Malabanan had 16 to pace Bali Pure.
The Water Defenders take on the Creamline Cool Smashers (1-0) on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Lefty opposite hitter Dimdim Pacres led the Power Smashers with 13 points, while Regine Arocha added 12.
The Power Smashers try to rally back against the defending champs Pocari Sweat (1-0) on Saturday.
Bali Pure (3) – Soltones 22, Sato 18, Malabanan 16, Urdas 15, Nabor 8, Oliveros 3, Singh 1, Noval 0, Mendiola 0, Pantone (L), Eroa (L).
Power Smashers (2) – Pacres 13, Arocha 12, Tan 10, Eulalio 7, Villegas 6, Esguerra 4, Marzan 2, Guillema 0, Galang (L), Gillego (L).