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IEM shocks Sta Elena to notch first win

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The IEM Phoenix Volley Masters finally claimed a win in the Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference as they trounced the Sta. Elena Wrecking Balls in straight sets, 25-19, 25-23, 26-24, in the FilOil Flying V Arena, Saturday afternoon.

Leading one set to none against the Wrecking Balls, IEM continued their hot start in the second set through Michael Conde and Eden Canlas to build a 16-10 lead by the second technical timeout. Errors from the Wrecking Balls and timely attacks from Jeffrey Jimenez helped IEM to extend the lead to 22-14. However, through the heroics of Arjay Onia and Joven Camaganakan, Sta. Elena chased down IEM to trail by a single point, 23-22. Still, Roland Tonquin and Rudy Gatdula scored the last two points for the Volley Masters to fend off the comeback of the Wrecking Balls.

Playing with urgency to extend the match, the Wrecking Balls tightened their floor defense as they played nip-and-tuck against the Phoenix Volley Masters at the beginning of the third set. Tied at 11, Jimenez delivered three out of IEM’s next five points to hand the Volley Masters a 16-14 advantage heading into the second technical timeout. Both teams exchanged attacks and errors that resulted in a tie, before Gatdula committed a net touch violation to put Sta. Elena in the driver’s seat, 23-22. He immediately made up for his mistake, scoring through the block for a 23-all deadlock. The Wrecking Balls took it back with a reception error from IEM for a 24-23 advantage. Tonquin scored off the block to tie things at 24, and unluckily for Sta. Elena, Christian Arbasto overdid his attack to hand IEM a 25-24 advantage. Michael Zamora finally ended the match for the Phoenix Volley Masters with a thunderous quick.

After the game, IEM coach Butch Ordon said the victory against the Wrecking Balls boosted his team’s confidence as they are still in the race for a semi-finals.

“Sinabi ko sa kanila, huwag na patagalain at ayusin ang service nila lalo we are playing without Karl(Dela Calzada) na may fever and tonsillitis at si Renz(Ordonez) may iniinda sa tuhod kaya hindi makalaro nang maayos kaya nag adjust kami and this win is also a moral boost for us lalo we have Philippine Navy for our last assignment para makuha ang number four slot,” Ordon said.

Conde finished with 15 points for the Phoenix Volley Masters while Canlas and Jimenez added 10 and 9markers apiece. Meanwhile, Camaganakan top scored the Wrecking Balls with 12 points and Onia contributed 10 hits.

The Phoenix Volley Masters (1-3) will next meet the Philippine Navy Sailors (1-2) on November 14 at 5:00 PM, while the Wrecking Balls ended their elimination campaign and bowed out from the semi-finals race with a 1-4 win-loss card.

The Scores:

IEM (3) – Conde 15, Canlas 10, Jimenez 9, Zamora 7, Tonquin 5, Cerilles 3, Gatdula 2, Ordonez 1, Arroyo 0, Almario (L)

Sta.Elena (0) – Camaganakan 12, Onia 10, Antonio 7, Honrade 6, Laja 4, Arbasto 3, Espiritu 1, Abdulwahab 1, Molate 0, Asia 0, Mandani 0, Hu(L), Lozada (L)

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