Talismanic Soltones leads BaliPure to first V-League win at expense of NU
Grethcel Soltones led a BaliPure fightback against the NU Lady Bulldogs. Jerome Ascano

GRETHCEL Soltones announced her return to BaliPure after missing one game by leading the team to a thrilling 18-25, 25-18, 19-25, 25-19, 15-13 victory over National University in Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Monday.

Soltones, who just arrived from a European trip where she joined teammate Alyssa Valdez in a series of exhibition games and a training camp, finished with 23 hits - 22 coming from attacks and the last two shattering a 13-all standoff in the fifth and deciding set.

That enabled the Water Defenders to seal their first win after a 23-25, 25-14, 19-25, 16-25 defeat at the hands of Air Force in a game which Soltones missed.

The Lady Bulldogs, led by Jorelle Singh’s 23 hits and Jaja Santiago’s 20 markers, dropped to 1-2.

“Grethcel Soltones’ presence today is very emphatic, as we can see naman, she really manifested a very veteran play, she didn’t seem like she was a rookie there or being the youngest in the first six,” said BaliPure playing coach Charo Soriano.

“She played her heart out, she was very mature, she’s the co-captain, Alyssa Valdez is the team captain, we wanted to give her that slot so that she can mature and grow more as a player and she really did today, she proved herself. I am very proud of her getting the Player of the Game (award),” added Soriano.

Valdez is is expected to arrive on Tuesday.

From an 8-11 deficit in the final set, BaliPure went on a 5-1 run, sparked by Amy Ahomiro's through-the-block attack, to snatch the lead, 13-12.

Jorelle Singh tied the contest, 13-13, but Soltones pushed the Purest Water Defenders to match point before her through-the-block spike ended the agony of the Lady Bulldogs.

“You can really feel the energy of the girls coming into the fifth set, we had very good momentum in the fourth and everyone was so confident,” said Soriano.

“Our main weakness in our last game was our receiving, she (Soltones) won the coin toss (in the fifth set) and she chose to receive and that for me is a very good sign that my players are already confident in their game especially with each other, not only in their own capacity,” she added.

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