A fair warning to the rest of the Shakey’s V-League: Bali Pure is just getting started.
Fighting with a full complement of players for the first time in the Open Conference, the Purest Water Defenders needed all 5 sets to get by hard-charging UP Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Playing coach Charo Soriano admitted her team struggled early against the Lady Maroons.
“Medyo mabagal po yung start,” she said. “We’re very, very hesitant. Eventually, we picked up our game. At least, Bali Pure is complete. We’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”
The Purest Water Defenders were on-and-off in the first 3 sets, unable to crack UP, who flaunted spectacular floor defense.
Things changed, however, when Soriano decided to enter the court, along with fellow veteran Dzi Gervacio.
“We instantly felt that we didn’t need to hesitate anymore. We realized everything that we needed to win this game is already within us. Iba yung chemistry e,” she said.
Bali Pure handily won the fourth frame, 25-17, before racing off to an insurmountable 10-2 lead in the final set and eventually holding off the feisty Lady Maroons.
Moving forward, Soriano is excited to finally have the full roster at her disposal, saying this allows her to be more flexible with her rotations.
Against the Lady Maroons, she utilized 11 of her 14 players, with only Bea Tan, Ella de Jesus and Ivanah Agbayani not seeing action.
Alyssa Valdez led all scorers with 26 points and 18 receptions, Grethcel Soltones had 15 markers and 19 digs, Amy Ahomiro added 10 while 3 other Water Defenders contributed in the scoring department.
“With the really deep bench that we have, we can switch things up,” Soriano emphasized. “Marami pa kaming improvements. Lahat kami na-aaccept na marami pa kaming pagkukulang individually and as a team.”
“Ang magagawa lang namin is to work harder. We wanna give you better games,” she closed. — By Josiah Albelda