BALIPURE coach Roger Gorayeb had nothing but praise for Risa Sato in the aftermath of the team's 20-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-18, 15-7 win over Creamline in the Premier Volleyball League on Tuesday.
While imports Jennifer Keddy led the team in scoring and Jeng Bualee made the emphatic hits in Tuesday's win, Sato stood out in the eyes of Gorayeb.
The Fil-Japanese spiker finished with 16 points, including one on a quick attack that put BaliPure at match point before Gretchel Soltones put the finishing touches to the win with a crosscourt hit.
"Si Risa ever since ang laki ng contribution sa amin, sobrang laki. Hindi lang naman napapansin kasi syempre pang-gitna lumalabas, hindi si Risa yung tipo ng player na pag pumalo lumalagabog yung bola katulad ng outside hitters," said the outspoken mentor.
"Pero ako, talagang ramdam na ramdam ko yung presence ni Risa, maski 'yung ibang mga laro ang laking bagay niya," he added. "Kasi ako nakikita ko yun, 'yung mga tao hinahanap nila mga explosive na player."
Sato isn't as big or as flashy as her prominent teammates, but Gorayeb said her contributions are just as crucial.
"Si Risa hindi 6'4 o 6'5 pero kung maglaro siya parang 6'4 6'5, ang laki ng naitutulong niya," he said after the Water Defenders gained an outright semis berth - and a much-needed rest following a hectic schedule - after their seventh win in nine games.