By: Ohmer Bautista
Not wanting to taste their first defeat in their post-season campaign, the Philippine Air Force Jet Spikers showed no remorse as they romped the skidding IEM Phoenix Volley Masters, 25-19, 25-19, 17-25, 25-22, in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference Quarterfinals, Wednesday afternoon, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Jet Spikers raced out of the gates, swiftly securing the the first set. Carrying their momentum onto the ensuing set, Jet Spikers uncorked an 11-4 spree, mounting an eight point cushion, 22-14.
However, in the third set, the Volley Masters showed that they weren’t going down without a fight, taking the driver’s seat, 22-17. A Bonjomar Castel single-block sealed a set for IEM, leaving Air Force head coach Rhovyl Verayo to boost his team’s morale before things get worse.
“’Pag nado-down na kami, kailangan namin umangat para manalo,” said Verayo. “Hindi pwedeng na-down na kami, papabayaan nalang namin ganun.”
In a close-quarter fourth set, Air Force leaned on their coach’s reminders, giving them the extra push down the stretch.
Knotted 22-all, a Fauzi Ismail kill and service ace gave Air Force the lead. Then a Greg Dolor error iced the game for Air Force.
Three players scored in double figures for Air Force, with Ismail leading the way with 16. Bryan Bagunas added 15, while Alnakran Abdilla added 10.
Meanwhile, Dolor’s 22 markers went down the drain for IEM, who are still winless in the Quarterfinals.
Air Force (2-0) will look to extend their streak as they face the unscathed PLDT (2-0) on Saturday, June 23. IEM (0-2) will look to bounce back against the still-winless Army (0-2) on Wednesday, June 27.
Air Force (3) – Ismail 16, Bagunas 15, Abdilla 10, Labrador 8, Fuentes 8, Malabanan 5, Tolentino 2, Dimaculangan 1, Jeruz 0, Inaudito 0, Deocampo 0, Mangaring (L)
IEM (1) – Dolor 22, Enciso 10, Castel 7, Presnede 6, Gatdula 4, Canlas 3, Jimenez 2, Macalma 1, Cerilles 0, Timbal 0, Arroyo 0, Almario (L)20