• Bali Pure masters Customs, nears finals

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    Bali Pure thrashed Customs with its vaunted power and superb defensive game, coming away with a 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 victory to gain the headstart in their best-of-three semifinal series in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference on Saturday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

    The Purest Water Defenders outlasted the Transformers in a thrilling first-set duel that featured long rallies, awesome spikes and terrific blocking and floor coverage to the delight of the big weekend crowd then turned back their rivals with a gritty stand in the next two sets to complete the sweep in 79 minutes.

    American import Kaylee Manns goes for a single-hand set during the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference. COTNRIBUTED PHOTO

    American import Kaylee Manns goes for a single-hand set during the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference. COTNRIBUTED PHOTO

    That moved Bali Pure closer to the finals of the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s with the Water Defenders, who also swept the Alyssa Valdez-led Transformers, 26-24, 25-21, 25-21, in the eliminations last Oct. 12, gunning for the clincher in Game 2 on Monday.

    Katherine Morrell unloaded 18 kills for a 20-hit output while Amy Ahomiro backed her up with 13 markers and Dzi Gervacio, Sue Roces, Kaylee Manns, Charo Soriano and Ella De Jesus combined for 26 points.

    The Water Defenders lived up to their name in the early going, foiling the dreaded Valdez attacks —on the net and on the floor—while Morrell took care of the offensive chores, pumping in the kills on the wing to anchor the victory.

    It was more of the same in the second and third frames although the Transformers showed some spunk by seizing control early only to falter in the face of the Water Defenders strong finishing kick.

    “It was really hard but we calmed down,” said setter Kaylee Manns, who also flashed her blocking skills in partnership with Ahomiro. “We’re working on timing (against Valdez). We have to minimize her points and we think we did that today (yesterday).”

    Valdez finished with 15 hits while Thai reinforcement Kanjana Kuthaisong added 10 hits but the rest failed to step up for the Transformers.

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