Water Defenders repeat vs Tigresses, cop V-L bronze

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BaliPure survived a first set scare, wore down UST in the second before cruising to a 25-23, 25-19, 25-11 victory and a third place finish in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig on Monday.

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Import Katherine Morrell mocked UST’s net defense with 22 attack points for a 24-hit effort while Dzi Gervacio and Amy Ahomiro combined for 16 points as the Purest Water Defenders wrapped up their best-of-three series for the bronze at 2-0, counting their 19-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-18 win in Game One Saturday.

The bronze medal effort was the second for BaliPure, which also swept Team Laoag to clinch third place in the Open Conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.

Customs’ Alyssa Valdez (fifth from left) holds her trophy after bagging the Conference MVP and first best outside spiker plums in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig last night. With her are (from left) second best middle blocker Lilet Mabbayad of Customs, Pocari reinforcement and best foreign guest player Breanna Mackie, Pocari skipper and best opposite spiker Michelle Gumabao, best libero Dennise Lazaro of BaliPure, first best middle blocker Ria Meneses of UST, second best outside spiker EJ Laure, also of UST, and Pocari Fil-Am playmaker Iris Tonelada as best setter. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Customs’ Alyssa Valdez (fifth from left) holds her trophy after bagging the Conference MVP and first best outside spiker plums in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig last night. With her are (from left) second best middle blocker Lilet Mabbayad of Customs, Pocari reinforcement and best foreign guest player Breanna Mackie, Pocari skipper and best opposite spiker Michelle Gumabao, best libero Dennise Lazaro of BaliPure, first best middle blocker Ria Meneses of UST, second best outside spiker EJ Laure, also of UST, and Pocari Fil-Am playmaker Iris Tonelada as best setter. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

But despite their fourth place finish, the Tigresses look forward to a highly competitive campaign in the UAAP early next year after slugging it out with teams reinforced by tall, talented US and Thai imports.

EJ Laure fired 14 hits, including 12 on kills, while diminutive but high-flying Cherry Rondina came away with 10 points and Pam Lastimosa added seven markers for UST, the winningest team in the league where it all started.

The Tigresses held their ground in the opening set, giving the Water Defenders a big scare before losing steam in the end. UST also kept the game close in the second but couldn’t match BaliPure’s strong finishing kick.

Two-up, the Water Defenders found little resistance from the Tigresses in the third en route to completing their romp in 78 minutes.

Meanwhile, Customs skipper Alyssa Valdez bagged her third Conference MVP award with the former Ateneo star also clinching the first best outside spiker honors during awards rites.

UST’s power-hitting EJ Laure copped the second best outside spiker plum, while BaliPure’s Dennise Lazaro took the best libero trophy. Other awardees in the season-ending conference of the league backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter were Pocari’s Fil-Am playmaker Iris Tonelada (best setter). UST’s Ria Meneses (first best middle blocker), Customs’s Lilet Mabbayad (second best middle blocker), Pocari’s skipper Michelle Gumabao (best opposite spiker) and Pocari reinforcement Breanna Mackie (best foreign guest player).

Valdez, also a former many-time UAAP MVP, took her first Conference MVP award in last year’s Open and Collegiate Conferences.

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