Iriga-Navy quells BaliPure-NU rally

MANILA, Philippines — Iriga-Philippine Navy nearly squandered a seven-point lead early in the fourth frame but held on to repulse BaliPure-National University, 25-23, 25-23, 22-25, 25-19, and join opening day winners PayMaya and Creamline in the early lead in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan last night.

The Lady Oragons pounced on the Water Defenders’ erratic plays halfway to regain control after BaliPure threatened to within 14-16 after falling behind by seven, 6-13.

But a service error by Princess Robles sealed it for Iriga-Navy which moved into joint lead with PayMaya and Creamline, which posted a pair of straight-set victories over Tacloban and Petro Gazz in Sunday’s inaugurals of the second season of the league organized by Sports Vision.

“The team is happy because they saw their hard work bear fruit,” said Iriga-Navy coach Edgardo Rusit. “We really want to start strong.”

After yielding the third set, the Lady Oragons actually groped for form and fell behind, 1-6, before Angela Kim and reinforcements Macy Ubben and Lauren Whyte combined in a 12-0 tear to shove Iriga-Navy to a 13-6 lead.

Ubben topscored with 27 points built on 18 attacks, seven blocks and two aces, Whyte came through with 17, Hezzymie Acuna wound up with nine, Grazielle Bombita turned in seven while Kim had four aces and finished with five points for the Lady Oragons.

UAAP girls reigning MVP Mhicaela Belen turned in 17 points whileAmerican Alexis Matthews and Princess Robles each had 15 for the Water Defenders, who are built on the core of UAAP four-peat champion Nazareth School of National University.

Later in the night, newcomer Tacloban blew a two-set lead but fought back from two-hit deficits in the decider to steal a 25-17, 27-25, 21-25, 14-25, 15-13 victory in a big rebound to its shutout loss to PayMaya.