Water Defenders rally past Power Smashers

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BaliPure battled back from 1-2 set down then poured it all out in the decider to fashion out a 25-15, 22-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-6 victory over the Power Smashers and gain a share of the lead in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Center in San Juan late Sunday.

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Many-time NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones, Risa Sato, Jerrili Malabanan and Aiko Urdas combined for 71 hits as the Purest Water Defenders turned a losing stand into a rousing victory with their big windup that kept them in step with early winners Creamline, Air Force and Pocari Sweat.

BaliPure, seeking to improve on its runner-up finish in the recent Reinforced Conference of the league organized by Sports Vision, actually overpowered the Power Smashers in spikes, 59-45, had more blocks, 10-6, and cashed in on their rivals’ poor service reception and netted 14 aces, twice over than the Power Smashers.

But they struggled after cruising to a 10-point first set win with the Power Smashers translating their miscues and mishits into key points to snatch the next two and wrest a 2-1 lead.

But coach Roger Gorayeb called on his veteran hitters while playmaker Jasmine Nabor produced a remarkable 57 excellent set performance to help anchor the Water Defenders’ come-from-behind victory.

Soltones finished with 22 points, including 20 attack points, Sato continued to dish out superb games and ended up with 18 markers while Malabanan and Urdas wound up with 16 and 15 points, respectively.

Dimdim Pacres topscored for the Power Smashers with 13 hits, Regine Arocha and Alexandra Tan backed him up with 12 and 10 markers, respectively, while Wynneth Eulalio, Katherine Villegas and Alina Bicar combined for 17 points.

The win thus put BaliPure in step with Creamline, Air Force and Pocari, which downed their respective rivals via similar 3-1 victories to share the early lead in the mid-season conference of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.

Meanwhile, Reinforced Conference champion Cignal HD blasted Café Lupe, 25-19, 25-18, 25-13, and Sta. Elena crushed Instituto Estetico Manila, 25-16, 25-20, 25-21, to join opening day winners newcomer Megabuilders and defending titlist Air Force in the early lead in the men’s side of the league.

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