• Water Defenders back on track, rip Lady Maroons

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    Creamed by Creamline the last time out, BaliPure vented its ire on the young University of the Philippines side, fashioning out a 25-23, 25-21, 25-23, victory to gain solo third in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the San Juan Arena yesterday.

    ose Mary Cailing (16) sets up a play for the UP Lady Maroons as BaliPure’s Risa Sato (11) and Aiko Urdas look on. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    But ranged against a bunch of collegiate players, the Water Defenders needed to lean on their experience at endgame of each set to shake off the tough-fighting Lady Maroons and get back on track following a tough 19-25, 30-28, 19-25, 31-29 loss to the Cool Smashers last Wednesday.

    Grethcel Soltones came away with 18 hits, including 16 kills, while Risa Sato continued to dish out top form, finishing with 13 markers, the last two clinching the third set and the 71-minute match for the Water Defenders.
    Aiko Urdas also delivered a 13-hit effort while Jerrili Malabanan added 11 points for the Reinforced Conference runners-up, who kicked off their campaign in the mid-season conference organized by Sports Vision on a win-loss-win run.

    “As what coach (Roger Gorayeb) would always say, we have to play consistent and mature as a team,” said Soltones.

    Truly, the Water Defenders failed to exploit their edge in personnel, enabling the Lady Maroons to keep it close throughout only to lose steam and poise in the stretch.

    UP even led a number of times in the third, seizing a 16-14 edge before BaliPure racked up four straight points coming off the second technical timeout to regain control. They padded it to four, 21-17, on a Soltones spike but the Lady Maroons fought back and wrested the lead at 23-22 before a Malabanan off-the-block hit, and a Sato quick attack and a block on Isa Molde finished off the Diliman-based squad.

    “They lacked aggressiveness. They have this tendency to play to the level of their opponents. But I believe they will settle down in time,” said Gorayeb, whose wards will take a long break before plunging back into action against Air Force on July 16.

    Molde turned in a match-best 23-point feat while Diana Carlos backed her up with 18 markers but the rest failed to step up for the Lady Maroons, who fell to 0-2 in a tie with Perlas-BanKo.

    Meanwhile, Creamline guns for its third straight win as it clashes with Air Force in the 6:30 p.m. main dish of today’s (Sunday) twinbill in women’s play.

    Adamson and Perlas-BanKo collide in a duel of winless teams at 4 p.m. Matches can be viewed live on www.sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/pvl.

    Earlier, Cignal HD tripped Sta. Elena, 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 25-20, to gain a share of the lead in the men’s side of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.

    Mark Alfafara fired 18 hits while Ysrael Marasigan and Lorenzo Capate combined for 33 points as the HD Spikers overpowered the Sta. Elena side to join the defending champion Air Force Jet Spikers and newcomer Megabuilders Volley Bolt in the lead at 2-0.

    Sta. Elena dropped to 1-1 in a tie with Instituto Estetico Manila, which repulsed winless Café Lupe, 25-18, 27-25, 25-19, in the other match.

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