The Black Mamba Army Lady Troopers gave the BaliPure Water Defenders a tough welcome in the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference off a four-set win, 25-16, 25-27, 25-22, 26-24, at the Bacarra, Ilocos Norte bubble on Tuesday, July 20.
Royse Tubino was named Player of the Game after dropping 19 points off 17 attacks and 2 aces while Jovelyn Gonzaga triple-doubled with 13 points, 16 excellent digs, and 12 excellent receptions.
BaliPure looked headed for a 2-1 lead after nailing a tough 27-25 second set equalizer, which carried on to a 20-15 lead in the third.
However, the Army turned up the offense off a timeout, and pelted the error-prone Defenders with a stunning 10-1 run to seize the third frame, 25-21.
Despite the Lady Troopers’ huge come-from-behind run, BaliPure actually kept their composure all throughout in the fourth, and even managed a set point, 24-22, off back-to-back Geneveve Casugod points.
But after a quick Gonzaga score for the Army, the experience of Ging Balse-Pabayo eventually prevailed as she closed out the game for good with back-to-back points of her own.
Head coach Kungfu Reyes was happy with the win, but wished for more consistency in their composure as the games roll along.
“Luckily nanalo, pero ‘yung laro medyo malayo pa dun sa hinihingi namin na performance, considering na nanalo kami ‘nung first set tapos bigla kaming bumababa, biglang baba yung balikat,” he said.
(Luckily we won, but our play was still a bit far from the kind of performance we wanted, considering we won the first set then suddenly slumped. Our shoulders slumped.)
Graze Bombita paced the tough loss with 18 points off 17 attacks, while Bernadette Flora chipped in a triple-double with 15 markers, 27 excellent digs, and 23 excellent receptions.
The Lady Troopers have a really tough challenge ahead of them if they want to start a winning streak, as they will next face the defending champion Creamline Cool Smashers, winners of their last 22 games, on Thursday, July 22, 3 pm.
The Water Defenders also return to action in the 6 pm game of the Thursday double-header, and will try to bounce back with a win against another powerhouse, the Chery Tiggo Crossovers. – Rappler.com