Semis-bound PayMaya holds off BaliPure-NU in five sets, but Gorayeb left unsatisfied
Tess Routnree paces the attack of the High Flyers in the five-set win. Dante Peralta

PAYMAYA finished the preliminary round of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on a high note, but took the hard way after the semifinal-bound team held off BaliPure-NU, 13-25, 25-21, 25-21, 20-25, 15-9, on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.

American import Tess Rountree led the High Flyers with 27 points, while Jorelle Singh and Grethcel Soltones added 11 and 10 markers, respectively after ending the eliminations with a 5-2 record ahead of the semifinals where they earlier earned an outright entry.

Buy PayMaya coach Roger Gorayeb rued the team’s complacency early in the match.

“‘Di ko alam, sabi ko sa kanila there’s nothing to be serious about this game, just finish this. You still have to play your best, if we lose there’s nothing to worry about as long as you played your best,” said the veteran mentor.

“Ang sama noong nilaro noong first set, hindi best,” he added. “First set, worst ‘yun, kailan kami naglaro ng ganoon, nagdadasal ako na maitawid ng 10 (ang score).”

It’s now a waiting game for PayMaya and top seed Creamline as both semis-bound teams won’t see action for almost a month before the best-of-three Final Four starts.

The six other teams - Tacloban, Pocari Sweat-Air Force, Petro Gazz, BaliPure-NU, BanKo Perlas, and Iriga-Navy will play in another round-robin quarterfinals where the top two teams will complete the Final Four cast.

American hitter Janisa Johnson finished with 27 points, 10 digs, and 12 excellent receptions for BaliPure-NU, which absorbed its third straight loss.

Middle blocker Alexis Matthews also had 16 markers and Roselyn Doria added 12 for the Water Defenders, who finished the preliminary round with a 3-4 win-loss card, tied with Pocari Sweat-Air Force, Petro Gazz and BanKo Perlas.

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