BALIPURE downed crowd favorite Creamline, 22-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-21, to move a step closer to the finals of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
American import Jennifer Keddy poured in 24 points for the Water Defenders, while National University standout Risa Sato added 13 and former San Sebastian ace Grethcel Soltones chipped in 11.
Far Eastern University stalwart Jerrili Malabanan also had nine points for BaliPure and NU setter Jasmine Nabor contributed eight markers and all but one of the team’s 24 excellent sets.
“I told them that beginning today all games ay parang finals na sa amin,” said BaliPure coach Roger Gorayeb. “I want to give BaliPure their first championship, their first finals appearance kasi last year (V-League) semifinals lang din sila.”
BaliPure came from an eight-day break after an outright entry to the semis but the veteran mentor refused to make it an excuse for their sluggish start in the game.
“Hindi ako naniniwala doon sa mga ganoon (rust). If you play poor today, it’s not an excuse kasi nakapahinga kami,” said Gorayeb.
“Eh ‘di dapat sila ang napagod kasi sila ang sunud-sunod tapos puro five sets ang laro nila,” he added.
The Water Defenders imposed their defense on the Cool Smashers with more total rejections (12-6 blocks) in a match that took an hour and 49 minutes to finish.
Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin made 16 points for Creamline, while skipper Alyssa Valdez added 12 and Jema Galanza had 10.
It was a difficult day for the hard-hitting duo as Kaewpin only converted 14 kills from 42 attempts, while Valdez scored 10 from 49 tries.
The second match of the best-of-three series is set Tuesday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.