Rivers suits up as Pocari faces BaliPure

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Thai import Jeng Bualee (No.7) fires away a hit into Creamline’s Pau Soriano and Alyssa Valdez as BaliPure teammate Jasmine Nabor looks on during their rubber match for the first finals berth in the PVL Reinforced Conference.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Pocari Sweat hopes to draw added firepower from import replacement Krystal Rivers as it clashes with BaliPure at the start of their Premier Volleyball League Finals at the Philsports Arena in Pasig tonight.

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The American opposite spiker actually secured her ITC (International Transfer Certificate) last Thursday but the Lady Warriors opted to sit her out and went on to beat the Power Smashers, 25-19, 25-22, 25-21, to seal a title duel with the Water Defenders, who also eased out the Creamline Cool Smashers via the fashion, 25-18, 25-13, 25-16.

The 5-11 Rivers, a former US NCAA Division 1 player from University of Alabama, is expected to fire up the Lady Warriors all the more as they gun for back-to-back title romp in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.

But the Water Defenders remain unfazed and focused on their first-ever crack at the championship in three conferences on a team built around American Jennifer Keddy, Thai veteran Jang Bualee and local aces Grethcel Soltones, Risa Sato and Jasmine Nabor.”

That guarantees a slam-bang action in the 6:30 p.m. opener of the best-of-three playoff to be telecast live on S+A Channel 23.

The 4 p.m. clash for third between Creamline and the Power Smashers will also be aired live, according to Sports Vision.

“I guess Rivers biggest contribution would be on offense because she jumps high and delivers power-packed hits,” said Pocari Sweat coach Rommel Abella, of his new import who replaced injured Edina Selimovic.

“But BaliPure is also a strong team and they are peaking at the right time. We’ll both make adjustments, us playing with Krystal and them playing against her. The team who makes the better and quicker adjustment will win,” added Abella.

BaliPure, which settled for third place finishes in two conferences in their debut last season, hopes to make the most of its maiden finals stint with Keddy and Bualee out to neutralize their counterparts and Soltones, Sato and Nabor hoping to sustain their superb form.

“We’ll just prepare and try to continue our momentum. I hope the players will continue to play happy and inspired,” said BaliPure mentor Roger Gorayeb.

Meanwhile, Air Force and Cignal HD likewise start their best-of-three series for the men’s crown in the league backed by Mikasa and Asics. Gametime is at 1 p.m. with Army and Sta. Lucia facing off in their own series for third at 10 a.m.

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