Facing elimination, Go for Gold-Air Force leaned on Ranran Abdilla to outlast Sta. Elena-NU in four sets, 26-24, 25-23, 19-25, 25-18, to send their best-of-three semis series in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference Semifinals to a rubber match, Tuesday at Paco Arena.
Abdilla was all over the place against the Ball Hammers, firing 18 points built on 15 attacks, two kill blocks, and an ace along with 19 excellent receptions.
“Receive lang talaga, kasi kung may first ball kami ang opensa namin maganda e. ‘Pag di kami nakakareceive nahihirapan yung setter namin so yun talaga yung main adjustment namin,” said Air Force assistant coach Rhovyl Verayo.
With the game already in their hands, the Jet Spikers lost their momentum in the third set which paved the way for the Ball Hammers to extend the game to four sets.
Locked at 10-all in the fourth set, Joshua Retamar committed a service error and lifting violation in consecutive plays which tipped the scales to Air Force’s side.
Capitalizing on the Ball Hammers’ errors, Fauzi Ismail led a 6-1 rally to give his side a comfortable 16-11 cushion.
It was all Air Force from there, as the lead ballooned up to seven points off a Madz Gampong kill. A net infraction from the Ball Hammers then sealed their fate.
Kim Malabunga poured 15 points in the victory while Gampong chipped in 13 markers and nine excellent receptions for the Jet Spikers, who dropped their first game of the series.
Francis Saura manned the net with four blocks for eight points while Rikko Marmeto patrolled the floor with 15 excellent digs.
Air Force skipper Jessie Lopez dished out 31 excellent sets while also tallying 10 digs.
Nico Almendras paced Sta. Elena with 21 points while James Natividad had 16 points in a losing cause.
Game Three will be on Thursday, October 17 at the same venue.