(The Arena, San Juan City)
4 p.m. – Creamline vs BaliPure
6:30 p.m. – Pocari Sweat vs Air Force
BaliPure came through with smart plays at crunch time and stunned defending champion Pocari Sweat, 25-21, 25-16, 25-23, Sunday night to catch the last semifinal bus in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
Far Eastern University standout Jerrili Malabanan pumped in 14 points, including 13 kills for the Water Defenders, who finished the eliminations with a 4-3 win loss card at fourth place to complete the semifinal cast.
They join the Creamline Cool Smashers (7-0), the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors (5-2), and the Hair Fairy Air Force (5-2).
BaliPure’s win not only averted a playoff for the last semis berth with Perlas-BanKo, but also arranged them a best-of-three semis meeting with unbeaten Creamline starting on Saturday.
BaliPure Coach Roger Gorayeb hopes his player will be consistent in the next crucial phase as they bolster their bid for their first title in the league.
Gorayeb is also ready to take advantage of the possible absence of Creamline’s star player Alyssa Valdez, who is still in a training camp in Japan with the national team.
“Kapag hindi makakalaro si Alyssa, samantalahin namin,” said Gorayeb. “Pero as a volleyball player, kailangan consistent sila sa laro nila.”
“I respect Alyssa a lot. Tatlong taon din siyang naglaro sa akin (sa Ateneo). Marami naman siyang kakampi, magkakaroon ng butas dyan and dun namin ika-capitalize,” said Gorayeb.
BaliPure’s best finish in the league so far is a runner-up finish at the Reinforced Conference a few months back.