After a dismal opening set, the Philippine Air Force Jet Spikers pulled through in the succeeding sets to pin down Cignal HD Spikers in four sets, 16-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23, in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Reinforced Conference on Monday afternoon at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Mark Alfafara starred for the Jet Spikers with 18 points off 15 attacks, while Howard Mojica added 16 points from 14 attacks and two blocks. Setter Jessie Lopez made 40 excellent sets in today’s victory, which marks Air Force’s second straight.
The HD Spikers played like a well-oiled machine in the opening set, taking advantage of the Airmen’s rustiness to post a 16-11 lead midway. With their quick hits and wing attacks on target, Cignal took the first set by a wide nine-point cushion, 25-16.
Air Force slowly picked up rhythm on both ends of the floor, putting up a slim 16-14 in the middle of the second frame. Cignal then came back to send the set to 20-all, but ran out of gas as the Airmen had a 5-2 spree of quick hits to get even at one set apiece, 25-22.
Both squads displayed brickwall net defense in the third set, with Air Force taking control as they zoomed to a 22-17 lead from a 16-all knot. Cignal managed to run back and give the Airmen a scare, 24-23, but a cross-court hit wrapped the set for Air Force, 25-23.
A game of runs defined the final set of the match. From a tie at 16, Air Force inched closer to set point, 22-19. But Cignal came back to send it to another 23-all knot. However, Air Force, through Bryan Bragunas, scored the last two points to come out victorious, 25-23.
“Siguro advantage namin is yung blocking,” said Air Force head coach Rhovyl Verayo regarding today’s victory, in which the Airmen had nine successful blocks.
“Tsaka yung set plays namin, gumanda,” he added.
Herschel Ramos paced the HD Spikers with 14 points in the defeat.
Air Force (2-0) will face Philippine Army next on October 18, Wednesday, in the battle of Armed Forces. Cignal (1-1), meanwhile, will try to bounce back against Champion Supra this Saturday, October 15. Both matches are set at 12:30.
Air Force (3) – Alfafara 18, Mojica 16, Malabanan 9, Fuentes 9, Labrador 8, Lopez 4, Jerus 3, Inaudito 0, Avila 0, De Ocampo 0, Chavez L, Mosuela L.
Cignal (1) – Ramos 14, Capate 12, Bonono 12, Torres 9, Woo 3, Ybanez 3, Mangulabnan 2, Marasigan 1, Diezmo 0, Faytaren 0, Montero 0.