IEM Volley Masters displayed composure when needed as they outlasted the debuting Champion Supra Spikers in five grueling sets, 25-20, 25-23, 25-23, 25-22, and 15-10, in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Reinforced Conference Saturday afternoon at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Today’s Spikers’ Turf affair was originally a match between Champion and Philippine Army, but a re-schedule request by the latter due to military-related activities prompted the tournament officials to play Match No. 10 — initially set on October 22 — today.
Four Volley Masters produced double-digit outputs in today’s victory. Jason Canlas led all scorers with 17 points, with 13 of them off attacks. Michael Zamora added 12, while Edan Canlas and Daryl Valenzuela each had 11. Patrick Vecina had 34 excellent sets for IEM.
Champion were clicking on both ends in the opening set, but errors halted them to pull away, allowing IEM to inch closer. Down by five, 21-16, IEM took advantage of their opponents’ miscues to close by two, 22-20. However, Champion scored three straight off kills and a service ace to grab a 1-0 set lead, 25-20.
It was IEM’s turn in the driver’s seat come the following set. But they almost lost grip of the upper hand, squandering an 8-3 lead that helped Champion send it to 16-all. From there, both squads traded rallies and saw themselves locked at 22-all. IEM had the last laugh as they outran Champion 3-1 to win the set, 25-23.
The Volley Spikers slowed down early in the third set, but were able to regain and continue their rhythm on the offensive side of the floor. Behind by just a point, 16-15, midway, IEM fought back and forced another knot at 22. And as similar to the previous set, IEM pulled another 3-1 burst to go up 2-1, 25-23.
Playing with their backs against the wall, Champion notched their level of play higher in the fourth set through quick hits. They led all throughout the frame, and despite the Volley Spikers being able to inch within striking distance, 23-20, late in the set, Champion managed to hold them off, 25-22, to force a decider.
With everyone eager to earn their first win, both squads played tight in the final set. But it was IEM who displayed poise down the closing sequences, erupting to a 7-2 scoring spree from an 8-all deadlock to reign victorious, 15-10, and post their first victory.
“What won us the game is our persistence,” said IEM head coach Ernesto Balubar in the postgame.
“Nagpa-positive na yung mga ginagawa namin sa trainings.”
Joven Camaganakan led Champion Supra with 16 markers off 15 attacks.
Due to the re-assignment of games, a shake-up in this conference’s schedule might take place in the coming days.
IEM (3) – Canlas 17, Zamora 12, Canlas 11, Valenzuela 11, Franco 9, Torres 6, Molate 3, Vecina 1, Arbasto 1, Conde 0, Ramos L, Lozada L.
Champion (2) – Camaganakan 16, Mandani 13, Onia 10, Paglinawan 10, Dumago 8, Frey 4, Del Pilar 4, Honrade 3, Asia 2, Relata 1, Hu 0, Movido L, Mangaring L.