WHAT was expected to be a tight match turned out to be a walk in the park for top seed BaliPure, eliminating Creamline, 25-18, 25-13, 25-16, on Thursday at the PhilSports Arena to reach finals of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference.
American import Jennifer Keddy and former San Sebastian ace Grethcel Soltones led the way for BaliPure with 13 points apiece, while Thai reinforcement Jeng Bualee and National University standout Risa Sato each had 10 markers.
After two failed attemps in last year's Shakey's V-League Open and Reinforced Conference, BaliPure booked its first finals appearance.
"Siyempre masakit para sa amin 'yung parang banderang kapos kami, kami 'yung nauuna tapos biglang maa-out kami. So kahapon, pinaghandaan namin 'yung gagawin," said BaliPure coach Roger Gorayeb, whose team drew first blood in the best-of-three semifinals.
Their five-set loss in Game Two served as a wake-up call after Creamline tactician Tai Bundit converted opposite hitter Laura Schaudt to a middle blocker and the Cool Smashers stunned the Water Defenders to force a decider.
Although Gorayeb expected the Water Defenders to dominate, he was still surprised the team completed the win in just an hour and 14 minutes.
"Kasi 'yung ginawa nila last time, napaghandaan nila kami ng sobra. Iniba nila yung position nung malaki, so kahapon, pinaghandaan namin 'yun, pati 'yung backline nila," said Gorayeb.
BaliPure will face the winner of the other semifinal between defending champion Pocari Sweat and Power Smashers.
The opener of the best-of-three series is on Saturday.
Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin had14 points for Creamline, while skipper Alyssa Valdez scored 13.
Valdez, who led Ateneo to back-to-back championships, has not won a title in two years. She was a member of the BaliPure squad that placed third in the 2016 V-League Open Conference and played for the Bureau of Customs squad that placed runner-up in that year’s runner up with Reinforced Conference.
Creamline can still salvage third against the loser of the Lady Warriors- Power Smahsers series.