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Various problems haunt Bali Pure in V-League semis

Alyssa Valdez and the Bureau of Customs Transformers forced a deciding game three in their semifinals series against the Bali Pure Purest Water Defenders.

MANILA, Philippines — The supposed budding rivalry between BaliPure and Pocari Sweat – perhaps a dream meeting in the finals – has been momentarily derailed.

The Bureau of Customs Transformers, having sucked in two three-set losses at the hands of the Purest Water Defenders, roared to life by sending their semis tussle to a deciding game three.

Whether they were overconfident or not, BaliPure played one of its worst games of the Reinforced Conference in game two.

As good as the Transformers were for game two offensively and defensively, BaliPure shot themselves in the foot by collectively playing a poor game aside from the smattering of errors on both ends of the court as well as in decision making. Their poor start in the first set, where they looked like a team playing together for the first time, carried over to the rest of the other sets. They took the second set looking like the team that crushed BOC in their preliminary round and Game One matches – with the ball evenly distributed, the defense at the net and the floor but soon fell apart.

The inherent weaknesses of the Purest Water Defenders were once more obvious in this match – a paper-thin bench, not much firepower, and poor leadership or in their case, coaching.

I have always said that Anusorn Bundit is good for the collegiate level but not the club level as he only has the latter for a shorter amount of time as opposed to Ateneo where he has an entire year to work with them. Plus, his pulling double duty for both squads has seen him miss three matches this year. Two of them have been losses. Ronald Toyco is more of an assistant than head coach material. During moments when they need leadership, there is none. 

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Between the third and fourth sets, players were looking at one another for guidance, answers, and leadership. Charo Soriano isn’t the designated coach anymore. She tried to point things out at that moment. Kate Morrell looked incensed as she was waiting for instructions. Setter and team captain Kaylee Manns sat and looked frustrated too. The last time I had seen them lost their cool was during that loss to UST. Although they were down when they lost to Pocari Sweat in the preliminaries, the dismay wasn’t like this.

At one point, Dzi Gervacio, who generally played better in game two than the series opener, should have been subbed out. For three consecutive attacks, either the ball didn’t cross the net or she was blocked. As it was, Ella De Jesus was only sent in late in the third set. 

Poor substitution also hurt BaliPure. For instance, with Sasa Devanadera and Amy Ahomiro unable to really get going, maybe Mae Tajima should have been sent in. She generally plays soft but you’ll never know if she can give her side a lift. Maybe even Jem Ferrer should have been given a chance when even Manns faltered.

Sure it was a bad game. But in all three losses of BaliPure this conference, they unraveled rather quickly. Two of the losses came in three sets on in four sets.

The series comes down to one game. However, BOC has awakened from its slumber. They now know they can beat BaliPure, and confidence can be a frightening thing. If BaliPure comes out smoking they will be fine. If not, they’ll start to question themselves.

The winner will only have two days’ rest while Pocari Sweat, having booked the first finals seat, will have had four.

Wherever BaliPure ends up this conference, they have a lot of things to address in the off-season.

Game three between BaliPure and Bureau of Customs is set tomorrow, November 9, at 6pm at the Philsports Arena.

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