BALIPURE started its Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference campaign with a 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21 win over Philippine Air Force on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
Grethcel Soltones led the Water Defenders with 16 points, while Risa Sato and Jerrili Malabanan added 12 markers apiece.
Thai reinforcement Jeng Bualee and American import Jennifer Keddy had been training with the Water Defenders but team officials learned only on match day that they cannot play as PVL president Ricky Palou said they have yet to secure International Transfer Certificates.
“Walang import tiisin na lang namin, syempre nagkakapaan pa, magkakakilala naman sila pero sa katulad nitong laro iba na ang situation, may pressure,” said BaliPure coach Roger Gorayeb.
“Kasi hindi rin namin akalain na walang import, nagpa-practice kami na may import tapos biglang pagdating kanina biglang hindi pwede so nag-iba ang tono (ng laro) nag-iba talaga,” he added.
BaliPure got a solid performance from Malabanan, who joined the team just three days before the tournament.
Gorayeb even said in jest during the post-game press conference that the Far Eastern University standout should be the best player of the game instead of Soltones.
“Hindi ko pa nga first six si Jerrili kanina pero na-feel ko na ready na siya and naging effective naman,” said Gorayeb.
Jocemer Tapic scored 14 points and skipper Joy Cases added 12 for Air Force.