Solid Johnson debut powers BaliPure past Petro Gazz
MANILA, Philippines – Janisa Johnson debuted with aplomb by hammering out 27 attack points as BaliPure thwarted Petro Gazz, 22-25, 25-23, 28-26, 22-25, 15-12, for it first victory in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan on Wednesday, May 16.
Unable to suit up in the Purest Water Defenders’ losing four-game stand against the Iriga-Navy Lady Oragons last week, the power-hitting American poured it all against the Angels, finishing with a 31-hit game, the last coming off a combination play that ended the back-and-forth two-hour encounter. Johnson also came up with 4 aces.
The Water Defenders, backstopped by the young members of the Nazareth School of National University, broke off a tight 8-all count in the 5th by racking up 4 straight aided by their rivals’ service and attack errors. They held sway from there, fending off the Angels’ rally at 12-14.
The victory thus put BaliPure in step with defending champion Pocari-Air Force, BanKo-Perlas and Tacloban at joint fourth at 1-1 in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Asics.
In men’s division, former Ateneo star Marck Espejo fired 22 kills as Cignal stopped newcomer Vice Co., 25-23, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21, while Instituto Estetico Manila, led by Mark Alfafara’s 21-hit game, outlasted PLDT, 14-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-22, 15-12.
Johnson, who arrived late last week after fulfilling her commitments in a French league, drew solid support from Princess Robles, who came through with 17 points while Alexis Matthews scored 15.
“Johnson’s addition is really greatly appreciated today. I like her style of game – quickness, speed and agility. She’s got a lot to offer. So many things she could do inside the court,” said BaliPure-NU coach Babes Castillo.
“I can learn from them and they can learn from me. It’s a nice breather to be on the court with them,” said Johnson of her teammates, who are mostly members of the reigning UAAP girls volleyball 4-peat titlist Nazareth School.
Anastasia Trach of Ukraine dropped 22 points while Kadi Kullerkann of Estonia returned from a one-game absence due to a swelling knee and made 21 points. Rachel Austero also had 10 hits for the Angels who fell to 0-3. – Rappler.com