BaliPure wore down a stubborn Team Laoag with its power game in the third set and fashioned out a 28-26, 25-23, 25-17 victory on Wednesday to assure itself of at least a playoff for a semifinals berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13-Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
Dragged into down-to-the-wire battle by the tough-defending Power Smashers in the first two sets, the Water Defenders proved steadier in the end in both times then imposed their will and strength in the third to complete the straight-set victory in 75 minutes.
It was BaliPure’s fourth straight win since dropping a four-setter to Air Force last May 30 and the Water Defenders poised themselves to join the unbeaten Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors into the Final Four of the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
“We came through when we needed it most in the first two sets,” said BaliPure player-coach Charo Soriano.
Alyssa Valdez, who rammed in 26 hits in BaliPure’s five-set escape over University of the Philippines in her first game in the league last Monday, slowed down with a 20-point game but it proved enough to help carry the team again to another victory in a match aired live over ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23.
“We’re improving a lot. We’re playing a more aggressive game, especially in blocking,” said Soriano.
Gretchel Soltones provided the needed backup with 11 hits while May Tajima put in an eight-point performance, half of which she delivered in the tightly-fought opening set that the Water Defenders had barely survived. The young lanky middle hitter went on to bag the game’s top honors.
BaliPure dominated the net and came through with 45 spikes against Laoag 34 with the former producing four blocks and 10 aces. But the Power Smashers kept the game close majority of the way with their gritty plays and counterattacks.
Jovielyn Prado rammed in eight kills while Jessica Galanza and Mylene Paat added six hits apiece and Katherine Villegas made five hits. But the Power Smashers just couldn’t unleash a strong finishing kick in each set and took their third loss against two victories.
In the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Open Conference, Instituto Estetico Manila survived Bounty Fresh, 20-25, 25-27, 25-18, 25-22, 15-13, to nail its third straight triumph and into the semis.