By: Jonash Dannug
Playing their first game together in five months, the returning Bryan Bagunas and Ranran Abdilla connived as the Go for Gold-Philippine Air Force Jet Spikers asserted their mastery over the PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters in a grueling five-set victory, 24-26, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 15-6, Tuesday at Paco Arena.
Bagunas unleashed 30 big points in his return built on 26 attacks, two blocks, and two aces for the 5-1 Air Force, who locked solo second behind Cignal. Meanwhile, Ranran Abdilla fired 26 markers.
Down by one, 4-5 in the final set, a Jeffrey Malabanan block tied the game. From there, Bagunas went berserk and took over the game. He scored four consecutive points in a 10-1 run to clinch Air Force’s fifth victory in six games.
“Nakita mo ‘yung laro namin five sets, hindi naglalayo ‘yung score namin. Itong fifth set na lang kasi medyo binwenas ‘yung jump serve ni Abdilla, so lumayo. Pero kung titignan mo ‘yung laro, halos the same eh,” said Air Force head coach Rhovyl Verayo.
Mark Alfafara scored 17 points, while Paolo Pablico added 16 for PLDT, who now possess a 5-2 win-loss slate tied with Army.
Later in the night, the Cignal HD Spikers stamped their class against the Volleyball Never Stops Volleyball Club (VNS VC) Griffins in straight sets 25-21, 25-17, 25-17, en route to their sixth win of the conference.
Team captain Ysay Marasigan paced Cignal with 12 markers built on eight attacks, two blocks, and two aces. Meanwhile, Peter Torres added nine for the league-leading HD Spikers.
“Actually kulang kami eh, kasi si Marck [Espejo] saka si [Manuel] Sumanguid hindi sila nakapag-practice ng ilang beses. Also, si Rex mayroon ding nararamdaman, [pero] ang kagandahan nga, kahit sinong gamitin sa kanila, nagpe-perform ng maigi,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor.
Cignal missed the services of Rex Intal as he is under the weather. Meanwhile, Espejo and Sumanguid are on a minutes restriction, as the duo have just returned from a trip from Japan.
Espejo only played in the third set, scoring three points.
On the other hand, Tony Koyfman had 13 points for VNS, who slid to a 2-5 record good for seventh place. Jeremy Merat and Pemmy Bagalay chipped in 10 and eight markers, respectively.
In the opening game, the Philippine Army Troopers escaped the Joeven Dela Vega-less Philippine Navy Sea Lions in five sets, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-12.
PJ Rojas ran roughshod on Navy, scoring five of his 21 points in the deciding set to bag the victory for the Army, who raised their slate to 5-2 and tied with PLDT at the fourth spot.
“’Yan na naman kami eh, lagi naman kung hindi fourth set, fifth set. Hindi kami maka i-straight eh, so ‘yun lang naman, balik na naman kami sa dating problema namin,” said Army head coach Rico De Guzman.
Kurl Rosete and Greg Dolor paced the Sea Lions with 13 points apiece. Navy slipped to a 4-3 standing, tying Sta. Elena at sixth.