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Air Force nabs first Spikers’ Turf championship

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Tiebreaker Times Air Force nabs first Spikers' Turf championship News PVL Volleyball  Sandy Montero Rhovyl Verayo Raymark Woo Michael Carino Louwie Chavez Lorenzo Capate Jr. Jessie Lopez Jeffrey Malabanan Howard Mojica Fauzi Ismail Cignal HD Spikers Air Force Airmen 2016 Spikers Turf Season 2016 Spikers Turf Open Conference

After getting their hearts broken last conference, the Air Force Airmen exacted revenge on their tormentors, the Cignal HD Spikers, completing a sweep in Game Two of the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference Finals, 25-19, 25-17, 28-26, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Air Force established their dominance early, successfully serving to Cignal’s weak receivers. Unable to consistently pass, the HD Spikers’ offense became predictable, allowing Air Force chances at easy transitions. The Airmen raced to a 19-13 lead in the first set after back-to-back kills from Fauzi Ismail. Air Force again plastered Cignal with an insurmountable 21-14 lead in the second frame to take a 2-0 sets lead.

The Reinforced Conference Champions mounted a last-gasp attempt at extending the match, keeping the third set close. Saku Capate rescued Cignal from being down several match points and forced an extended deuce. Thanks to a lucky shot off a second touch from Jessie Lopez, Air Force tied the set at 26. Jeffrey Malabanan and Ismail sealed the title for the Airmen, putting away powerful spikes off a quick transition.

“Malaking pasalamat ko na healthy kami this season – na wala kaming injury. Yung ibang season kasi may mga injury kami kaya hirap makapasok ng Finals,” said Air Force head coach Rhovyl Verayo.

NU standout Fauzi Ismail was named Finals MVP after turning in 16 points in the title match. Two-time NCAA MVP Howard Mojica added 12 points, while Jeffrey Malabanan managed 10 markers.

Cignal played without Ysay Marasigan, who was in Singapore playing for Ateneo in the Asean University Games. Their two open hitters Raymark Woo and Saku Capate led the charge with 13 and 11 points respectively.

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The Score:

Air Force (3) – Ismail 16, Mojica 12, Malabanan 10, Fuentes 6, Labrador 6, Lopez 3, Avila 0, De Ocampo 0, Chavez (L)

Cignal (0) – Capate 13, Woo 11, Bonono 7, Castel 6, Faytaren 3, Ramos 3, Mangulabnan 0, Dela Cruz 0, Diezmo 0, Montero (L)

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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