BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — On Thursday night, BaliPure shocked the Philippine volleyball landscape after scoring a monumental upset against the Jaja Santiago-led Chery Tiggo in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.
For some, this game might just be a huge blunder for the side of the Crossovers, who rotated 13 of their 14 player roster during the match.
But for Grazielle Bombita and the rest of the Water Defenders, this win was a nudge. A gentle nudge, reminding everyone that they, too, are in contention for the first-ever professional volleyball championship in the country despite the lack of big-name players in their lineup.
“Sobrang nakaka taas ng morale.
“Ngayon lang namin napatunayan sa sarili namin na kaya pala talaga namin. So kailangan naming kumapit talaga para matapos namin hanggang dulo, which is eto na. Eto na ‘yon,” said an emotional Bombita, who unloaded 24 big points in BaliPure’s 19-25, 25-19, 13-25, 27-25, 15-12 win over the title favorites.
“Kailangan talagang paghandaan. Hindi puwedeng sabihin na relaxed kami [pero ngayon] alam namin na kaya namin. Ngayon, kailangan naming gawin ‘yung pinaka-best namin para makuha namin ‘yung mga susunod na panalo,” added the 30-year-old product of University of Nueva Caceres.
The Water Defenders put up an all-around effort to withstand Jaja Santiago’s 23-point outing.
Aside from Bombita, it was Bern Flora and Shirley Salamagos who provided the offensive spark with 16 points and 10 points, respectively. The former also tallied 17 excellent digs in the win.
It was a statement win indeed, according to BaliPure head coach John Abella.
After all, Chery Tiggo is one of the favorites to win it all.
“Puwede nating tawagin na ganun, but siyempre sabi ni Graze nakaka taas ng morale ‘yung laro na ‘to,” echoed Abella. “‘Yung panalo na ‘to — especially Chery Tiggo — ‘yung natalo namin which is one of the contenders talaga ito eh. Heading to the tournament, sila ‘yung isa sa mga tinitignan natin na puwedeng mag finals,” said the PVL champion coach.
“So beating them talagang nakaka uplift ng spirits.”