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Air Force storms back, sends Choco Mucho to fourth straight loss


Staring at a precarious deficit, the Air Force Lady Jet Spikers were able to snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat, grounding the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in five sets, 26-24, 14-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-7, in the 2019 PVL Open Conference, Wednesday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Mired in a 12-19 hole in the fourth set, the Lady Jet Spikers crawled back to knot the scores at 21-all. AC Masangkay then coughed an error before Abegail Nuval uncorked consecutive off-the-block hits that put Air Force at set point, setting the table for a Mae Cabalsa push that forged a decider.

Picking up where they left off, the Lady Jet Spikers pounced on Choco Mucho’s sloppy reception, soaring to a commanding 12-7 gap. Cabalsa then hammered down another crucial blow before Nuval nailed the match-clinching aces.

“Sabi ko sa kanila one to 15 lang ito, hindi tayo pwedeng parang diesel. Kung pwede tayong XCS o Blaze, kailangan ilayo natin kung maari,” Air Force head coach Jasper Jimenez said. “‘Di tayo pwedeng dumikit dito kasi ang kumpiyansa niyan, kailangan mabali natin. Kailangan bumalik sa atin ang kumpiyansa.”

Dell Palomata spearheaded Air Force with 18 points, including four blocks and 14 attacks. Meanwhile, Angel Mae Antipuesto supplied 16 markers — spiked by five service aces.

Cabalsa, who came off the bench, chimed in 11 points, a pair of which coming from kill blocks. Judy Ann Caballejo managed seven markers.

Air Force setter Wendy Semana was also instrumental as she tossed 27 excellent sets on top of 14 excellent digs. Joy Cases manned the floor with 16 excellent receptions and 11 excellent digs.

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The Lady Jet Spikers have now strung back-to-back victories after their breakthrough win three days ago. Moreover, they rose to a 2-5 card, forcing a three-way logjam with Bali Pure and Choco Mucho in the lower half of the standings.

“Hopefully, eto ‘yun kumpiyansa na hinahanap namin sana magtuloy-tuloy na,” added Jimenez.

To pick up the come-from-behind win, the Lady Jet Spikers also had to weather an offensive storm churned out by Kat Tolentino.

Tolentino rained down 26 attacks and two kills blocks en route to a game-high 30 points that went down the drain. The Choco Mucho lead scorer also had 14 excellent digs.

Arianna Angustia tallied 13 points off of 12 attacks. Meanwhile, Maddie Madayag chipped in 12 markers in her last match before flying to Thailand to join the national team.

Masangkay dished out 28 excellent sets while Bang Pineda collected a whopping 41 excellent digs laced with eight excellent receptions in a losing cause.

Air Force will try to stretch its streak to three against PacificTown-Army on Saturday, September 14. Meanwhile, Choco Mucho looks to put an end to its dry spell when it faces Motolite on Sunday, September 15. Both matches will be played at the same venue.

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