BALIPURE recovered in time after blowing a 2-0 set lead to outlast Pocari Sweat, 25-15, 26-24, 24-26, 24-26, 15-13, in Game Two of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Finals on Tuesday at the PhilSports Arena.
Game Three of the best-of-three championship series is on Thursday, 6:00 p.m., at The Arena in San Juan.
“Salamat naman at nakabawi kami, hindi kami nagmukhang kawawa naman diyan,” said BaliPure coach Roger Gorayeb.
American import Jennifer Keddy and Thai reinforcement Jeng Bualee took charge on offense for the Water Defenders with 20 points apiece, while skipper Grethcel Soltones added 11 and Risa Sato and Jerrili Malabanan each had 10 markers.
“Ito ngang fifth set, 'di ko na alam kung anong gagawin ko,” said Gorayeb.
“Mahirap. Pero, wala, nakakatuwa pa rin sila kasi kung ano man ang naging result nun, proud pa rin ako,” he added. “Kasi hindi naman kami natalo ng parang kaming mga batang maliliit lang diyan na tinuturan nilang mag-volleyball.”
The Water Defenders trailed, 6-9, in the fifth set before a 3-0 spurt capped by a Soltones attack tied the contest, 9-9.
BaliPure and Pocari Sweat exchanged points, 12-12, but Soltones and Keddy pushed the Water Defenders at match point, 14-12.
The Lady Warriors saved the match point but Soltones bailed out the Water Defenders and finished off the match with a powerful kill.
“Wala, sabi ko sa kanila, 'wag niyong isipin 'yung score,” said Gorayeb. “Tatlong puntos lang 'yan. 'Wag niyo nang intindihin.”
The Water Defenders, who came from a four-setter loss on Saturday in Game One, showed no sign of panic and dictated the tempo of the match early.
Down by two, 22-24, in the second set BaliPure crawled back and scored four consecutive points to lead the match, 2-0, and gain momentum.
BaliPure dug itself out of a 15-20 hole in the third set and tied the contest, 21-21.
Keddy pushed the Water Defenders at match point, 24-23, before Krystal Rivers extended the match, 24-24.
Desiree Dadang scored on an ace, 25-24, followed by a Keddy attack error that sent the match to a fourth set.
The Water Defenders looked to win the match after taking the match point, 24-23, from a 14-20 deficit but a collective effort from Rivers, Myla Pablo and Jessey de Leon helped keep their hopes alive.
Rivers led the way for Pocari Sweat with 26 points, all from attacks, while Strizak added 15 markers and 19 excellent receptions and Pablo had 14.