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Early victors clash today

Games Today (The Arena, San Juan City)
1 p.m. – Sta. Elena vs Café Lupe (men’s)
4 p.m. – BaliPure vs Power Smashers (women’s)
6:30 p.m. – Perlas vs Air Force (women’s)

THE head of Creamline’s Alex Cabanos is covered by the ball during their game against Perlas Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

THE head of Creamline’s Alex Cabanos is covered by the ball during their game against Perlas Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

BaliPure and Power Smashers dispute the early lead when they clash today in the women’s division of the Premier Volleyball League at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Power Smashers launched their title bid in style by stunning defending champion Pocari Sweat, 25-9, 25-22, 25-21, while the Water Defenders, led by three-time NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones, Risa Sato and Jerrili Malabanan, drowned the Air Force Spikers, 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21.

The two opening day winners clash at 4 p.m.

Also going for a back-to-back win is Perlas which battles Air Force at 6:30 p.m.

The Perlas Spikers made known their title desire loud and clear by bringing down the Alyssa Valdez-led Creamline Cool Smashers, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-21.

But against the Water Defenders, the Power Smashers should be ready.

The power-hitting Soltones hammered in 14 kills and finished with 16 makers.

“They were still trying to feel their way around. Nagkakahiyaan kasi iba na ito, eh,” said BaliPure coach Roger Gorayeb, referring to his mix of aces from his San Sebastian and National University teams in the collegiate leagues.

Apart from having deadly spikers, BaliPure also boasts of a couple of defensive specialists in Aiko Urdas and Jasmine Nabor.

So for the Power Smashers to have a better chance of pulling off a surprise win, Jovelyn Prado and Regine Arocha must duplicate their solid showing the last time when they combined for 22 kills.

Expected to lead Perlas are former Ateneo standouts Amy Ahomiro and Dzi Gervacio with University of the Philippines’ Kathy Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon out to provide additional firepower.

In men’s play, Sta. Elena takes on neophyte Café Lupe in the 1 p.m. curtain raiser. (KS)

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