THE unbeaten Creamline Cool Smashers (6 wins, 0 loss) and the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors (5-1) are safely through to the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.
Three teams: Hairy Fairy Air Force (4-2), Perlas-BanKo (3-3) and the BaliPure Water Defenders (3-3) are fighting to stay alive.
As of press time Saturday the Hair Fairy Air Force hope to bounce back from a straight-set loss to the Lady Warriors when they take on Adamson-Akari. A victory sends Air Force safely through to the semifinals leading the Power Smashers and BaliPure to fight it out for the last berth.
Air Force hopes to rebound from its straight-set setback to Pocari Sweat in its last game as it shoots for the third semifinal berth against ousted Adamson-Akari.
Pocari sweat booked its own semifinal ticket after grounding Air Force, 25-19, 25-20, 29-27, to take second place behind unbeaten Creamline.
BaliPure stayed in the running for seat in the playoffs after it snapped a two-game skid with a 25-18, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20 romp over Adamson-Akari.
Save for a listless third set stint, the Water Defenders dominated the Lady Falcons, wresting control early and cruising in the first set, quelling off their rivals’ gritty stand in the next before pouncing on Adamson’s miscues in the fourth to fashion out the victory.
The Lady Falcons saved one match point at 19-24 on a BaliPure service error but Chiara Permentilla’s attack error and Eli Soyud’s weak serve that slammed into the net enabled the Water Defenders to claim the set and the match.
“We need to win our last two games to have a chance of making the semis and I’m glad the girls responded to the challenge,” said BaliPure coach Roger Gorayeb.
It was only BaliPure’s third win against three losses but it proved enough to tie the Water Defenders with the idle Perlas-BanKo Spikers at fourth heading to their last elimination round assignments against the two of the league’s top teams.
Adamson, UP and the Power Smashers, with 1-5 slates, have been eliminated.
After a runner-up finish to Pocari Sweat in the past PVL conference the Water Defenders are struggling this conference.
The Water Defenders were off to a good 2-1 start this conference though. They then lost two consecutive matches which pushed them on the brink of elimination.
Fatigue seems to be the biggest factor against BaliPure. Star player Grethcel Soltones is not about to point any fingers but even she admitted they are not playing like the team which almost annexed the crown during the PVL’s past conference.
The former three-time NCAA MVP is playing as well as anybody in the league but some of her teammates seem tired, a step slow and a split second late to react to game situations.
This is understandable because some of her teammates are still in college and have a twice-a-day practice. One with BaliPure and another with their school teams.
Jerrili Malabanan is still with Far Eastern University. Risa Sato, Jorelle Singh, Aiko Urdas and Jasmine Nabor also attend practices with National University.
Despite this the Water Defenders bounced back with the needed victory and could advance to the semifinals depending on the results of the games today, Sunday.
Perlas will play unbeaten Creamline at 4 p.m. while BaliPure will take on defending champion Pocari Sweat at 6:30 p.m. If BaliPure and Perlas prevail, they will most likely dispute the last Final Four seat in the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
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