Water Defenders foil P Smashers, wrest solo lead

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BaliPure’s Aiko Urdas defies the Power Smashers’ net defense put up by Andrea Marzon and Mae Guillema during their PVL Reinforced Conference clash at the FilOil Flying V Center.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

BaliPure rebounded from another shaky start and pulled through in the next three back-and-forth sets to eke out a 17-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-22 victory over the Power Smashers and snatch the early lead in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan on Tuesday.

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With the imports’ stint still on hold pending the release of their ITCs (International Transfer Certificate), Grethcel Soltones continued to flash top form to help steer the Water Defenders to their second straight come-from-behind win following their 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21 triumph over Air Force in last Sunday’s opener of the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.

Despite the victory, however, BaliPure coach Roger Gorayeb said he was far from being satisfied.

“Masama ang laro. I was looking for something from my players. I told them that it’s okay to commit miscues but we should learn from every mistake. Dun papasok yung learning process, yung maturity,” said Gorayeb.

Still, after dropping the opener, the Water Defenders proved again their resiliency although they had to buck the pressure-packed endgame of the next three sets to prevail.

Jerrili Malabanan, who came up with 12 hits against Air Force, actually topscored for BaliPure with 20 points, including 19 attack points while Soltones came through with 15 markers and provided the leadership in the last three frames.

Soltones capped her superb all-around game with 12 excellent receptions and 10 digs.

Malabanan and Soltones stepped up big in the fourth set as they combined to help BaliPure overcome a 10-15 deficit with the former stringing seven points, including two in the team’s closing flurry, and the latter scoring four.

The Power Smashers, who stunned the defending champion Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors via sweep, also last Sunday, drew 11 points apiece from skipper Jovelyn Prado, Dimdim Pacres and Regine Arocha while Katherine Villegas wound up with 10 points.

Earlier, Army rallied from two sets down then out-steadied Café Lupe in the decider, 21-25, 20-25, 25-14, 25-18, 15-12, to join Army in the early lead in the men’s side of the tournament backed by Asics and Mikasa.

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