Water Defenders stop Lady Warriors, clinch maiden crown
BaliPure nailed its first Premier Volleyball League crown in style, snapping Pocari Sweat’s championship run at three via sweep – 25-20, 19-25, 25-23, 26-24 – to capture the Open Conference diadem at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan on Wednesday night.
The Water Defenders squandered a huge lead midway in the fourth but fought back from one down late in the frame behind its superb blocking then leaned on setter Jasmine Nabor’s smarts to finally foil the Lady Warriors in a wild ending to a thrilling finale.
BaliPure, which took Game One via sweep, 25-22, 25-19, 25-22, thus avenged its finals setback to Pocari Sweat in sudden death in the Open Conference, which stretched the Lady Warriors’ run of championships to three in as many tries.
Nabor, coming in late for Angelica Cayuna, opted not to set up their hitters and instead came through with a dump, catching the Lady Warriors’ defense off-guard for the championship point.
Grethcel Soltones shoved the Water Defenders to 25-24 lead on a power crosscourt hit in the earlier BaliPure offense.
Up 2-1 in sets and ahead at 18-13 in the fourth, the Water Defenders lost their poise in the face of the big Pocari fightback with the Lady Warriors racking up six of the next seven points to force a 19-all count then Myla Pablo soared for a kill to lift Pocari to a 22-21 lead.
But after an Aiko Urdas push that forced another tie, the Water Defenders came through with back-to-back kills blocks, only to yield the next two points, the last a block off Soltones before Soltones, who later copped the Finals MVP honors, and Nabor delivered the winning points for the Water Defenders.