Soltones: Bali Pure must loosen up in V-League battle for 3rd

MANILA, Philippines – Gretchel Soltones, one of the main offensive weapons of Bali Pure, clearly showed frustration the last time she played inside the court.

It was Game 3 of their semifinals faceoff against the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors in the Shakey's V-League Open Conference on Monday, July 4, at the PhilSports Arena. 

Soltones, who finished with 19 points for her team, was visibly more serious than usual. The Water Defenders were fighting for their life, seeking to extend the match to a fifth set, and book a trip to the finals. 

Bali Pure, which is mostly composed of former Ateneo Lady Eagles, is known for its players always wearing smiles on their faces even during clutch situations. They weren't that kind of team that night.

"No'ng fourth set, medyo naging tight na kami," Soltones admitted. (We became tight in the fourth set.)

"Hindi naman bumaba 'yung energy namin. Medyo naging seryoso lang. It was not a joke e. We're fighting for finals." (It's not that our energy dropped. We just became more serious because it wasn't a joke. We were fighting for the finals.) 

They fought hard indeed. Sadly, the attacks from Pocari's Myla Pablo and Elaine Kasilag were too sharp to be stopped.

Pocari's blocks were also too strong that the hits of Soltones and 3-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez couldn't get through. In the end, Pocari Sweat prevailed. 

"Mas composed sila as a team, unlike us. Mas gusto nilang manalo and sobrang ganda din ng blocking nila. Composure lang talaga ang kulang sa amin which is mayroon ang Pocari," Soltones added. 

(They were more composed as a team, unlike us. They really wanted it more and they had great blocking. We really lacked composure which Pocari had.) 

Despite this, Soltones is happy with their teamwork. Being the fighter that she is, the two-time NCAA Most Valuable Player made sure to give it her all for her squad. 

"Magiging palaban lang ako sa court. Pinakita naman ng lahat kaso medyo kinapos kami as a team. Pero ayos lang naman kasi hindi talaga namin iniwan ang isa't-isa," she said. 

(I aim to put up a good fight on the court. We all showed our fighting spirit but we really fell short as a team. What's important, however, is that we didn't leave each other behind.) 

Now heading to the battle for third against the Laoag Power Smashers, the open hitter said all they have to do is go back to playing happy.

"Wala namang bago. Magiging masaya lang kami sa loob." (We're not going to do anything new. We will just play happy inside the court.)