BaliPure stunned Pocari Sweat in straight sets, 25-22, 25-19, 25-22, Saturday to draw first blood in their inaugural Premier Volleyball League Open Conference best-of-three Finals series at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Water Defenders moved a win closer to claiming their breakthrough crown and could finish off the same opponent that denied them the Reinforced Conference title two months ago on Wednesday.
"Wala na silang ibang nasa isip kundi ang manalo," said BaliPure coach Roger Gorayeb.
Conference 2nd Best Outside Spiker Grethcel Soltones, Aiko Urdas, 2nd Best Middle Blocker winner Risa Sato and Jerrili Malaban connived on offense with Angelica Cayuna and Jasmine Nabor alternating to orchestrate BaliPure’s fluid executions to dampen the day Pocari Sweat’s Myla Pablo earned the conference’s Most Valuable Player award.
"Ang ganda ng nilaro ng mga bata. Maganda rin ang nilaro ni Aiko," said Gorayeb, whose squad had a roller-coaster ride heading into the playoffs after going down 2-3 in the elims barely escaping an early elimination and overcoming a 0-1 deficit in the semifinals against top seed Creamline.
Game 2 of the series is on Wednesday. If needed, Game 3 is on August 19.
Urdas was on fire the whole match as the National University standout dropped 15 points anchored on 12 attacks and three kill blocks. Malabanan had 14 points while Soltones and Sato finished with 10 and eight markers, respectively, for the Water Defenders.
Cayuna dished out 19 excellent sets while Nabor came off the bench and played only in the second and third set while nursing a stiff neck for BaliPure, which made a repeat of its straight sets demolition of the Lady Warriors in the elimination round.
"Para sa amin gusto po naming makabawi sa nangyari sa amin last conference," said Urdas.
Elaine Kasilag scored 11 points while Pablo and 1st Best Middle Blocker Jeanette Panaga were limited to only nine points each for the Lady Warriors.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.