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BaliPure nails first PVL title

By Jerome Lagunzad

As always, revenge is a dish best served cold.

That’s precisely what BaliPure achieved last night when the Water Defenders returned the favor to erstwhile favorite Pocari Sweat, 25-20, 19-25-19, 25-23, 26-24 and clinched the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference crown in dramatic fashion at The Arena in San Juan City.

Top gunner Grethcel Soltones delivered under the brightest of lights as the former San Sebastian star sizzled with a game-high 21 points, spiked by 17 attacks, in a dazzling performance that earned her the Finals MVP plum in BaliPure’s breakthrough championship conquest.

The likes of hitters Aiko Urdas, Risa Sato, blocker Macy Mendiola, and setter Jasmine Nabor also chipped in ample contributions on both ends as the Water Defenders earned a fitting payback to their tough finals loss to the Lady Warriors in the Reinforced Conference last June.

“As usual, andu’n ‘yung teamwork ng mga bata pati ‘yung desire and passion to get the championship,” said BaliPure mentor Roger Gorayeb, who added yet another feather on his cap.

“Malaking bagay ito para sa mga bata, lalo na sa BaliPure,” he added, visibly pleased the Water Defenders finally claimed that elusive crown after four conferences.

And they had to work hard for every bit of it – literally and figuratively.

In men’s play, powerhouse Cignal turned back Megabuilders in their rubber match, 25-23, 25-17, 22-25, 25-22, to complete a golden double.

Reigning tournament MVP Saku Capate led their fluid attack with 16 markers, 15 of them off kills, while Ysrael Marasigan provided the defensive anchor with three blocks that highlighted his team-high 17-point performance to help Cignal bounce back from a five-setter loss to Megabuilders over the weekend.