With Jerrili Malabanan finally showing her worth, BaliPure hopes to hurdle the next stumbling block to its Premier Volleyball League Open Conference campaign this weekend.
But it won’t be easy. With the unbeaten Cream-line as it Final Four rival, BaliPure will need to draw the best not only from Malabanan but also from the rest of the Water Defenders to upend the top seeded Cool Smashers.
BaliPure, which lost the recent Reinforced Con-ference crown to Pocari Sweat, beat the Lady Warriors, 25-21, 25-16, 25-23, last Sunday to clinch the last semifinal berth in the mid-season conference, its fourth straight Top 4 ap-pearance in the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Asics.
Malabanan starred in that romp with 14 points and eight digs, netting the Far Eastern U ace the Philips Gold-PVL Press Corps Player of the Week honors for games played from July 26-30.
Malabanan has be-come the Water Defen-ders’ third offensive option after Grethcel Soltones and Risa Sato, scoring 86 points on 73 spikes, 10 service aces and three blocks.
Malabanan credited coach Roger Gorayeb for keeping the Water Defenders’ emotions in check.
“When we enjoy ourselves, coach (Roger Gorayeb) always tells us that it’s good we’re enjoying but we have to stay calm and focused. He’s the one that calms us down,” said Malabanan in an online interview.
Malabanan bested the Cool Smashers’ Cesca Racraquin and Jia Morado for the weekly honors.