In what was the best match of this rivalry, the Air Force Airmen inched close to the Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference crown after taking Game One from the Cignal HD Spikers 25-23, 25-19, 17-25, 25-27, 15-12 at the PhilSports Arena, Wednesday afternoon.
Air Force got the jump on Cignal with whom they had split the two previous Spikers’ Turf titles.
Off-the-bench revelation Bryan Bagunas led Air Force’s offense with 24 points. Former Spikers’ Turf MVP Mark Alfafara added 16 points while Reyson Fuentes and Howard Mojica delivered 15 and 12 markers, respectively.
After taking the first two sets, Air Force braced for a strong fight back attempt from their rivals according to head coach Rhovyl Verayo.
“Lalaban at lalaban talaga ‘yung Cignal kaya sinabi ko sa mga players ko na wala talaga kaming time para mag-relax. Noong third at fourth set talagang nabuhayan ng loob ‘yung Cignal kaya sinabihan ko lang ‘yung players ko na magfocus sa bawat sa fifth set. Buti na lang nag-step up lahat ng ginamit namin kanina,” Verayo said.
Cignal, who made several lineup adjustments throughout the match, pulled 20 points from veteran Saku Capate. While Ysay Marasigan and Edmar Bonono provided 15 and 13 points, respectively.
In the bronze medal series, Champion Supra took the series lead with a 25-19, 25-23, 27-29, 25-13 Game One win over the IEM Volley Masters.
Berlin Paglinawan and Arjay Onia towed Champion’s with 17 and 16 markers each while IEM’s Daryl Valenzuela managed 13 points.
Game Two of both series will be played tomorrow at the PhilSports Arena with the season awards to be handed out in between the matches.
Air Force (3) – Bagunas 24, Alfafara 16, Fuentes 15, Mojica 12, Malabanan 12, De Ocampo 1, Lopez 0, Avila 0, Labrador 0, Chavez (L)
Cignal (2) – Capate 20, Marasigan 15, Bonono 13, Ramos 7, Torres 6, Ybanez 5, Calasin 2, Mangulabnan 1, Castel 1, Diezmo 1, Woo 1, Montero (L)
Champion Supra (3) – Paglinawan 17, Onia 16, Camaganakan 11, Mandani 11, Jose 9, Asia 1, Del Pilar 0, Dumago 0, Frey 0, Relata 0, Hu (L), Mangaring (L)
IEM (1) – Franco 15, Valenzuela 13, Canlas E. 11, Torres 10, Zamora 5, Canlas J. 3, Vecina 3, Arbasto 1, Cerilles 0, Conde 0, Gunazon 0, Molate 0, Ramos (L)