The Philippine Army Troopers proved too much to handle for the Philippine Air Force Air Spikers, as the Troopers downed the Air Spikers in four sets, 25-22, 16-25, 25-14, 25-18, Tuesday morning at the San Juan Arena.
The trio of Joel Villonson, John Depamaylo, and Far Eastern University’s Greg Dolor dominated the first set for the Army Troopers. Army’s setter, Manolo Refugia, also chipped in three of his five points in the opening frame, helping the Troopers squeak by the Air Spikers to take the first set.
Air Force took flight in the second set, securing an early 8-3 lead entering the first technical timeout of the set. Army’s PJ Rojas tried to bridge the gap, scoring five consecutive points for his team, which cut their deficit to four at 15-11. That was the closest it would get, however, as Rojas and Villonson pitched in two errors each that ballooned the Air Force lead to nine, 20-11. Afterwards, the Air Spikers never looked back as they easily tied the set score at one-apiece.
Dolor came alive in the third, scoring six of his team-high fifteen points in the set. Army took hold of the set through a Benjaylo Labide kill and Villonson quick attack that gave them a 15-9 lead. Air Force tried to catch up, as they went on a 3-0 run to trim the deficit. However, Army was able to clamp down on defense, allowing just two Air Force points for the rest of the set, both coming off of Army errors. The Army Troopers ended the lopsided set on a 10-2 run.
The Air Spikers opened the fourth set on a 2-0 run with a Jeffrey Malabanan drop and a Jessie Lopez ace, but the Troopers caught up as they countered with a 3-0 run of their own. It was evident that both teams wanted to take the set as the tension started to rise between both teams. Neither was able to gain a significant advantage early on, but Army managed to nab a 10-8 lead after an Air Force service error. Depamaylo and Dolor would then go on a scoring spree, scoring seven of the next eight Army points. Despite the efforts of the two Troopers, Air Force was able to stay in range as they were down by only four, 20-16. Although the Air Spikers gave it their all, they were unable to catch up, scoring only two more points before the Troopers took the match.
Army’s power showed in the discrepancies in attack as they managed to score more through spikes, 58-45, and service aces 9-4. Air Force was able to shore up decent floor defense, netting more excellent digs compared to their foes, 35-28.
Army’s next opponent will be Cagayan on Thursday, April 30, while Air Force will face PLDT Home Ultera on Sunday May 10.
Army (3) – Dolor 15, Depamaylo 14, Labide 14, Villonson 11, Rojas 9, Refugia 5, Abdulmajid 1, Uy (L)
Air Force (1) – Malabanan 18, Tolentino 11, Merza 8, Inaudito 6, Dacurong 4, Lopez 3, Balse 3, Mosuela (L)