Driven to a fifth set, the veteran Hair Fairy-Air Force Lady Jet Spikers squeaked past the Power Smashers, 25-22, 26-24, 18-25, 17-25, 15-13, in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
After clinching the first two sets, Air Force lost their grip on the match in the following two frames. According to head coach Jasper Jimenez, the Lady Jet Spikers floundered too many passes that led to opportunities for the Power Smashers.
“Nawalan kami ng first ball kaya hindi kami maka-atake nang maayos. Grabe ‘yung binababa ng laro namin. Hindi namin sila mapigilan,” Jimenez rued.
The decider turned into a back-and-forth affair. Air Force gained ground thanks to their grizzled substitutes. Former FEU Lady Tamaraw Camille Abanto served an ace that gave the Lady Jet Spikers their first lead of the fifth set, 12-11. Long-time Lady Jet Spiker Judy Caballejo then subbed in and gave her team match point, 14-13, with a soft hit. Middle blocker Jocemer Tapic stuffed Jovelyn Prado to end the match.
“Maganda talaga ‘yung nilaro noong mga hinugot ko. Malaking bagay sa amin na manalo nang ganitong dikitan na laban para sa mga susunod naming laro,” closed Jimenez.
Open hitter Mary Ann Pantino led Air Force with 14 points while Iari Yongco and Joy Cases provided 12 markers, apiece.
With a 4-1 record, Air Force can clinch a semis seat with a win on Wednesday against defending champs Pocari Sweat (3-1).
The Power Smashers’ pair of Arellano Lady Chiefs, Jovelyn Prado and Regine Arocha, led their charge with 22 and 16 points, respectively.
The Power Smashers bowed out of contention for the Final Four with a 1-5 card. They play their final elimination round match on July 29 against the UP Lady Maroons (1-5).
Hair Fairy-Air Force (3) – Pantino 14, Cases 12, Yongco 12, Tapic 10, Antipuesto 8, Palomata 8, Semana 2, Abanto 1, Andaya 1, Caballejo 1, Cabalsa 0, Balmaceda (L)
Power Smashers (2) – Prado 22, Arocha 16, Marzan 10, Pacres 9, Eaguerra 8, Villegas 3, Guillema 1, Kim 1, Sta. Rita 0, Galang (L), Gillego (L)