One could almost consider the Philippine Air Force Jet Spikers and Megabuilders Volley Bolts as brother teams. Several players and coaches from both squads have strong ties with the National University, and some Volley Bolts had been brought in as civilian players for the Jet Spikers.
So it was no surprise that their clash in Premier Volleyball League Open Conference went down to the wire. With their younger foes depleted of their main scorers, Air Force squeezed out a five-set win over the previously-undefeated Megabuilders, 25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 26-28, 15-12 at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Jet Spikers mainly toppled the Mega Builders with their excellent service game. Air Force tallied a whopping 13 aces to the Mega Builders’ three.
According to Dante Alinsunurin, who serves as an assistant coach for Air Force while also being the head coach of the National U-powered Megabuilders, the teams are evenly matched even in scrimmages, regardless of who’s playing for either side.
“Siyempre, parang magkakapatid na ang turingan ng mga players na ‘yan. Lagi talagang bakbakan din ang mga laban kasi doon sila mag-iimprove talaga,” said Alinsunurin. “Sobrang kailangan namin ng panalo sa Air Force. Silang mga bata, nakita mo din naman na ayaw nila ibigay na lang basta ‘yung panalo. Talagang pinaglaban nila ‘yung undefeated record nila.”
Nino Jeruz led the Jet Spikers with 20 points, which includes seven aces. For Bulldog Edwin Tolentino and two-time NCAA MVP Howard Mojica provided 19 and 14 markers, respectively.
The Jet Spikers ended the elimination round as the third seed with a 5-2 record.
Playing without starting open hitters Bryan Bagunas and Fauzi Ismail, the Mega Builders had skippers Francis Saura take over with 20 points while Madz Gampong added 15.
The Megabuilders ended their elimination round campaign with a 6-1 record.
Air Force (3) – Jeruz 20, Tolentino 19, Mojica 14, Malabanan 13, Labrador 4, Lopez 2, Inaudito 1, Avila 0, De Ocampo 0, Chavez (L)
Megabuilders (2) – Saura 20, Gampong 15, Ponti 13, Daymil 12, Malabunga 7, Mondero 3, Dayandante 2, Ancheta 0, Marcos (L)