By: Jonash Dannug
After losing their first game of the tournament last June 9, the PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters regained their lethal form as they disposed of the Philippine Coast Guard Dolphins in four sets, 25-20, 28-26, 22-25, 25-19 in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference at the Paco Arena, Manila.
National pool team captain John Vic De Guzman led PLDT with 15 points built on 12 attacks, two aces, and a block. Meanwhile, Mark Alfafara and Paolo Pablico added 14 and 13 markers, respectively.
With Coast Guard up by four, Alfafara and Pablico ignited a 3-0 rally to cut the deficit to one, 21-22. However, the Dolphins managed to put up a 3-1 spurt of their own — capped by a kill from Francis Basilan — to extend the game.
Jayvee Sumagaysay’s running attack spearheaded an 11-5 run which kept Coast Guard for good, 21-13. Richard Solis and Kheeno Franco delivered the final blows for the now 5-1 PLDT.
“’Yung focus lang nung key players, medyo nilalandi nila yung laro [eh]. Not so much as a problem, but we really have to work on our passing,” said PLDT head coach Odjie Mamon
Esmail Kasim’s 26 points went down the drain as the Coast Guard succumbed their eighth loss in as many games.
Greg Dolor propelled the Philippine Navy Sea Lions past the Volleyball Never Stops Volleyball Club (VNS VC) Griffins in four sets, 18-25, 27-25, 25-21, 25-14, in the second game of the afternoon.
The Sea Lions grabbed their fourth win in six outings behind Dolor’s 17 points built on 14 attacks and three aces, and Bonjomar Castel’s 13 markers.
Gian San Pascual and Pemmy Bagalay sparked a 3-0 to trim Navy’s lead to two, 20-18. It wasn’t enough, however, as Castel fired two of the last three points to put VNS down in the third set.
Up by five in the fourth set, 19-14, the Sea Lions smelled blood and unleashed a 6-0 blitz capped by two aces from Dolor to end the match.
“Medyo ‘di ganun kadali yung fourth set kasi medyo nara-rattle sila, hindi naka-focus, ganon. Kaya buti naka-adjust kami nung huli,” said Navy head coach Edgardo Rusit.
The Griffins, who fell to a 2-4 win-loss slate, were led by Tony Koyfman with 21 points on 15 attacks, five blocks, and an ace.
Coming off a lackluster performance against Rebisco-Philippines, the Philippine Army Troopers vented their ire on the Animo Green Spikers in four sets, 20-25, 27-25, 25-21, 25-19, in the opening game.
PJ Rojas fired 17 markers on 15 attacks and two aces. Meanwhile, Antonio Torres and Karl Ramirez collected 13 and 12 respectively for Army, who won their fourth game.
“Ang hirap makakuha ng momentum namin, lalo kung iiscore kami tapos mapuputol sa service. Mahirap kasi ‘yung pinractice namin nung nakaraan, puro service. Ang gaganda nga ng ginawa ng players ko pero pagdating dito, hindi ko mabilang kung ilang error nagawa nila,” said Army head coach Rico De Guzman.
Meanwhile, Joshua De Sequera was the only Green Spiker to hit the double-digit mark with 13 points for Animo, who now dropped to an even 4-4 card.