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Malabunga, Air Force avert VNS upset to open PNVFCL campaign


LIPA CITY, BATANGAS — Go for Gold-Air Force averted a huge upset from VNS, 23-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 15-11 to kick-start its PNVF Champions League campaign with a win, Monday at the Aquamarine Recreational Center.

After a rough start, the Aguilas finally came alive in the final set with Mark Alfafara converting a kill to give Air Force an 8-4 advantage.

The Aguilas’ error kept the Manileño Spikers at bay, even slicing the lead to just one, 11-12 off an Edwin Tolentino attack error.

Kim Malabunga followed it up with back-to-back hits to put Air Force at match-point. Alfafara ended the match with a huge block.

“Siyempre thank you sa panalo namin, although ganun ang kinalabasan siyempre talagang nagiging maganda yung labanan namin,” said Aguilas head coach Dante Alinsunurin.

Alfafara top-scored for the Aguilas in his debut, scoring off five blocks to finish with 19 points along with nine excellent digs.

Another Air Force newcomer in John Vic De Guzman also delivered the goods in his first game, ending up with 16 points. Kim Malabunga also had 16 markers while Edwin Tolentino added 13 points and 16 receptions.

Meanwhile, Kim Dayandante tossed 18 excellent sets while Ricky Marcos collected 16 receptions and 14 digs for the Go for Gold-backed squad.

“Ang importante yung competition paangat nang paangat and yun maswerte pa rin kami nakarecover kami nung bandang huli kaya nanalo kami,” added the Philippine men’s national team tactician.

The Aguilas, who came into the tournament as the favorites, took the early lead in Pool A with a 1-0 standing while the Manileño Spikers have a 0-1 slate.

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Morris Gavan led VNS with 17 points while Benedict San Andres had 13 points and 16 excellent receptions in the loss.

Go for Gold-Air Force looks to score its first win against Basilan tomorrow, Tuesday at 1:30 PM while VNS looks to score its first win also against Basilan on Wednesday at 1:30 PM.

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