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BaliPure banks on Bombita to topple fancied Chery Tiggo

Graze Bombita and Bern Flora of BaliPure celebrate after upsetting Chery Tiggo. PVL Media Bureau

BaliPure handed Chery Tiggo its first dropped set in the 2021 PVL Open Conference on Wednesday inside the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center on Wednesday, but Graze Bombita was far from finished as the Purest Water Defenders ultimately brought Jaja Santiago and the Crossovers to their knees in five sets, 19-25, 25-19, 13-25, 27-25, and 15-13.

Bombita was a woman on a mission all match long, punishing Chery Tiggo's titans with her power en route to 24 points, all but three coming from attacks.

Behind their captain and her back-to-back hits, young BaliPure forwarded a 5-2 finishing kick in the fifth and final frame to score the biggest upset thus far in the young season of the newly professionalized league.

"Of course, we are very much overjoyed with this win. We trained very, very hard for this," exclaimed a more than satisfied head coach John Abella. "At least, what we worked hard on translated to this game."

Bern Flora contributed 16 points as well as 17 excellent receptions. Add those to 11 more from libero Carly Hernandez and their receives, without a doubt, showed up in the face of well-known strong servers at the opposite side.

Early on, it looked like it was just business as usual for Santiago and company as they took care of business in Set 1. Bombita came out swinging even harder in the second, however, and led her side into giving the Crossovers their first taste of a lost set.

The Purest Water Defenders yet again showed grit in Set 4, where they rallied to force a decider period. Once there, they finished the job to barge into the win column following a conference-opening defeat.

It was a day of five-setters for the PVL as in the earlier match, Black Mamba-Army took defending champion Creamline to the limit before eventually bowing to Alyssa Valdez's heroics.

BaliPure made sure their story had a different ending, and sent a statement that the league championship is very much up for grabs, with anybody capable of beating anybody on any given day.

"Yeah, you can say this is a statement game," beamed Abella. "Our morale is now higher with this win especially because it's Chery Tiggo we beat. They are really one of the teams we thought can make it all the way to the Finals."

After going back-to-back to start the season, Chery Tiggo now goes back to the drawing board despite 23 points from Santiago and 17 markers from sister Dindin.

"BaliPure definitely played really well. We congratulate their defense and blocking," commented mentor Aaron Velez. "We didn't play our volleyball today."

The loss also ruined the return of legendary setter Tina Salak who unretired just six days ago to turn pro at 44 years old.