The Philippine Army Troopers are peaking at the right time, cruising past the Cafe Lupe Sunrisers, 25-16, 25-20, 25-17, to heat up the playoff race on a rainy Wednesday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
This game is Army’s second game in four days. Though the luck of the schedule might not be favorable to other teams, it has certainly helped the Troopers according to Sgt. Rico de Guzman.
“Malaking bagay yung schedule sa amin kasi dito kami nabubuo,” shared De Guzman, as his line-up is composed of enlisted personnel and players from the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Spikers. “Yung tinatakbo ng team namin ngayon, nakakabangon na kami dun sa pagkatalo namin sa Sta. Elena, dati watak-watak kami.”
And it is paying dividends, as Army have picked up their first winning streak of the conference, tying the Sta. Elena Wrecking Balls at fourth with a 3-3 record.
Army had a balanced attack with all the attackers fielded in scoring at least a point. The Troopers were led by Romnick Rico’s nine points, all coming from attacks. Manuel Medina and Tyrone Carodan chipped in six markers each.
“Yung mga bata, nararamdaman ko na gusto nila makapasok ng semis especially wala na yung mga National Team ng ibang teams. Kaya gumanda yung mindset nila, sabi ko rin samantalahin na natin ito,” remarked De Guzman.
Despite gaining a quick 2-0 lead, the Troopers did not let up, racing to a 19-14 lead in the deciding set. The lead would reach to as high as nine points, 24-15, before Carodan put on the finishing touch to seal their third win of the season.
Army’s only remaining assignment for the elimination round will be against the young Gamboa Coffee Spikers (1-5). The match will take place on Saturday, July 29 at 1:00pm.
Though much deeper than Gamboa Coffee, the champion mentor plans to rev up their practices for the next two days.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, kung gusto nila makapasok sa playoffs, hihingin ko lang yung presence nila sa training for two days para magawa ko yung pinapagawa ko sa kanilang plays. Siguro para maayos din yung first ball namin at blocking,” expressed De Guzman.
John Millete led Cafe Lupe with seven points.
The Sunrisers end their season against Sta. Elena on Sunday, July 30 at 1:00pm.
Army (3) – Rico 9, Medina 6, Carodan 6, Bautista 5, Labide 5, Barrica 4, Sumagaysay 4, Reyes 4, Tajanlangit 3, Abdulmajid 3, Torres 3, Depamaylo 1, Bayking (L).
Cafe Lupe (0) – Millete 7, Ocampo 4, Lim 4, Adorador 4, Castillo 3, Francisco 2, Sioson 1, Ebrahim 1, Magdaong 1, San Pascual 0, Baldelovar 0, Sebastian 0, Magadan (L), Chua (L).