Bali Pure coach Soriano says 'mature' Soltones worthy of third MVP trophy in young career 
Gretchel Soltones earned her third MVP trophy, her first in the V-League, after leading Bali Pure to third place. Dante Peralta

GRETCHEL Soltores added yet another accolade to her young career as she took home the her third MVP award, this time in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference on Saturday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

The reigning back-to-back MVP of the NCAA, who averaged 17.5 points in her six elimination games with Bali Pure, was surprised with her performance this conference.

“Hindi ko ine-expect na ganoon kalalabasan ng pinoperform  ko,” Soltones said.

“Sobrang saya kasi ako po yung isa sa napili magreceive ng ganoong award and hindi biro iyon,” she added.

But Bali Pure playing coach Charo Soriano is not surprised at all, especially after witnessing how Soltones led the Water Defenders on the court with her scoring. What’s surprising for Soriano, however, is the 20-year-old’s leadership and maturity.

"I'm very proud of Gretchel. She has shown that she's not the Gretchel Soltones that we know but the very mature, veteran (player) in the game of volleyball," said Soriano of Soltones. 

"She showed leadership, strength, and prowess as an outside hitter and as co-captain especially with the absence of captain Alyssa Valdez," she added. 

The power-hitting, two-time NCAA MVP capped the conference by leading the Water Defenders anew with 18 points to a 25-27, 25-22, 25-23, 25-19 victory over Laoag and snagging third place with the win on Saturday at the PhilSports Arena. 

Meanwhile, Soltones teammate and former V-League MVP Valdez was awarded the First Best Outside Hitter.

Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors were the big winners in the individual awards with three players grabbing an award each.

Myla Pablo was awarded the Second Best Outside Hitter award, while Melissa Gohing grabbed the Best Libero. Michele Gumabao was awarded the Best Opposite Spiker.

UAAP standouts Jaja Santiago of National University and Kathy Bersola of UP were awarded the First and Second Best Middle Blocker Award, while Air Force’s Wendy Semana was awarded the Best Setter.

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