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BaliPure foils Perlas

Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez dives to save the ball as teammates Alex Cabanos and Laura Schaudt look on during their Premiere Volleyball League Reinforced match against Pocari Sweat at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez dives to save the ball as teammates Alex Cabanos and Laura Schaudt look on during their Premiere Volleyball League Reinforced match against Pocari Sweat at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

BaliPure squandered a two-set lead but fought back from four points down in the decider and hacked out a 25-21, 25-23, 16-25, 25-27, 15-10 victory over Perlas to bolster its semifinal drive in the Premier Volleyball League at the Philsports Arena in Pasig yesterday.

Veteran Thai import Jaroensri Bualee took over in the fifth, hammering in five of her 16-hit output, including three straight that put the Water Defenders back on top at 7-6. Perlas forced another tie in the next play but the Water Defenders took eight of the last 11 points, including a Grethcel Soltones’ dink that finished off the Perlas Spikers.

Import Jennifer Keddy topscored for BaliPure for 24 hits while Aiko Urdas and Risa Sato combined for 23 markers for the Water Defenders, who produced 62 attack points, 11 more than the Perlas Spikers.

But Perlas came up with 12 blocks against BaliPure’s nine and had more aces, 7-4.

BaliPure thus swept its weekend matches, including a sweep of Air Force Saturday, pooling a 6-2 card and firming up its bid for one of the two automatic semifinal berths in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision along with the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors.

Meanwhile, the league changed its format in the middle of the tournament with the top two teams after the double round elims advancing to the Final Four with the next four to dispute the two other semis berths in a round-robin quarters. Creamline was playing with the Power Smashers at presstime, looking for a 4-4 card and the hold of No. 4.

Brazilian import Rupia Inck fired a 27-hit game, including 23 kills, while Kathy Bersola backed her up with 12 points and Sue Roces and Amy Ahomiro added eight markers a piece and Japanese setter Naoko Hashimoto chipped in five points for Perlas, which swept the Power Smashers Saturday.

For a while, the Water Defenders looked headed for another romp after winning the first two sets. But the Perlas Spikers, behind Inck, struck back in the next then snatched the fourth on deuce points to force a decider.

They sustained their charge in the fifth and raced to 4-1 and 6-2 leads on a BaliPure net violation. But reed-thin setter Jasmine Nabor scored on a dump on the second ball and Bualee blasted in three hits and coupled with a Carlos’ wide spike, the Water Defenders surged ahead at 7-6.

Nabor again came through with a dump and the Water Defenders parlayed the Perlas Spikers’ three miscues and a poor service reception to move to at matchpoint at 14-9.

Inck scored on a hit to halt BaliPure but Soltones clinched it with a tip, ending a long rally and the match in two hours and two minutes.

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