The Air Force Airmen have extended their dominance over the Cignal HD Spikers for the third straight conference.
Air Force stopped Cignal’s undefeated run in three tight sets, 30-28, 25-19, 25-21, in the Premier Volleyball League Men’s Division at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Momentum ebbed and flowed between both sides throughout the match. The HD Spikers took early leads in each frame, but Air Force rallied back thanks to clutch defensive plays.
Air Force libero and newly-named National Team member Louwie Chavez had a spectacular outing, hauling in 12 digs and putting up a 16-for-22 reception clip. Current National University Bulldog Fauzi Ismail led their offense with 15 points, while Air Force’s other National Team members Jeffrey Malabanan and Ranran Abdilla each provided 10 points. Ismail’s NU teammate Kim Malabunga made his debut, marking nine points.
Air Force head coach Rhovyl Verayo was pleased with his team’s effort despite missing key players to varying reasons.
“Kulang nga kami pero maganda kasi lagi namang may ready pumalit at maglaro sa lineup,” Verayo said.
“Masaya kami as a team pero hindi naman dito natatapos ang season. Ang goal is championship pa rin and malamang kailangan namin ulet talunin ang Cignal kung gusto namin marating ‘yun,” the champion mentor added.
First-time Philippine Team campaigner Mark Alfafara towed Cignal with 12 points, while Saku Capate, Rex Intal, and Ysay Marasigan each managed nine points.
Both teams still top the standings with identical 3-1 records.
Air Force will end their elimination round against the Café Lupe Sunrisers (0-3) on May 25, while Cignal take on the Sta. Elena Wrecking Balls on May 27.
Air Force (3) – Ismail 15, Abdilla 10, Malabanan 10, Malabunga 9, Tolentino 5, Lopez 1, Dela Calzada 0, Dimaculangan 0, Chavez (L)
Cignal (0) – Alfafara 12, Capate 9, Intal 9, Marasigan 9, Torres 6, Mangulabnan 1, Bonono 0, Faytaren 0, Diezmo 0, Ramos 0, Montero (L)