After losing its first game, Bali Pure has racked up 4 straight victories in the 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference, tying for second spot as the tournament nears its twilight zone.
And while the return of collegiate MVPs Alyssa Valdez and Grethcel Soltones has boosted the Purest Water Defenders on both ends, the team has been winning because they have been really happy playing together.
“Super good vibes inside. Super light lang,” said playing coach Charo Soriano after Bali Pure rolled over Laoag in straight sets Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
“They’re very at ease with each other,” she added. “But we can’t take things lightly. I’m sure we’re all happy with the 4 consecutive wins we had. But we need to work harder in training.”
With its core having played together for Ateneo in the UAAP, the Purest Water Defenders have seen chemistry and camaraderie as their strongest antidote to limited practice time due to prior commitments.
Soriano’s leadership has been vital, too, as the playing mentor has made all the right decisions with regards to rotating players, including giving Mae Tajima major minutes even in crucial moments.
And with Tajima delivering a personal best of 8 points in their win over the Power Smashers, Soriano is glad to see her team growing in confidence as the competition wears on.
“I’m just very, very happy that the team’s getting better and better,” she said. “Best example is Mae. She’s improving each and every game. You can see that she’s more aggressive now.”
Facing lowly Baguio next, Soriano said Bali Pure won’t step off the gas pedal.
“Any game, we’ll have to treat it with respect regardless of our opponent,” she stressed. “We will never take any team lightly. We won’t be complacent. A game is a game.” — By Josiah Albelda