The Philippine Air Force Airmen bounced back from a loss against rivals Cignal HD Spikers with an emphatic three-set win over the Bounty Fresh Soaring Griffins, 25-20, 25-17, 25-17, to be just a win shy from clinching a top four slot in the 2016 Spikers Turf Open Conference Saturday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
“Siguro nag-adjust na kami sa laro namin from last time,” Air Force head coach Rhovyl Verayo said about the win. “Medyo nahirapan kami nung last game namin kaya ginusto naming manalo para maka-top four.”
Former NU Bulldog Fauzi Ismail led the way for the Airmen with 13 markers, 11 coming from attacks. Jeffrey Malabanan added 12 points on nine attacks while Rodolfo Labrador tallied 11 markers.
The first set was close with the Airmen clinging on to a 21-19 lead late in the set. A kill by Malabanan and a four touches violation by the young Bounty Fresh squad helped the Airmen’s cause. An attack by Geuel Asia, one of his three markers, tried to power the Soaring Griffins a chance but a deceiving off speed attack by Howard Mojica and a kill by Edwin Tolentino gave Air Force the opening stanza.
“Sinabihan ko kasi sila. Individually talented sila. Matter of perspective na lang sa kanila kung papano sila mananalo,” Verayo added. “Yung katawan nila kondisyon naman pero nasa sa kanila na yun kung papaano sila mag-gegel.”
After winning the second set 25-17, a clearly demoralized Bounty Fresh squad came out of the third canto. The Air Force lead went to as high as 11, 22-11, as the Air Force staff cleared its bench to give exposure to its players. The Soaring Griffins took advantage of this in going on a 6-1 rally led by Philip Bagalay. However, a service error by JC David and a long shot by Bagalay ended their comeback hopes.
“Gusto ko rin kasing ma-try yung ibang player namin,” the PAF mentor closed. “Minsan kasi hindi natin maiwasan, sana hindi naman mangyari sa amin, na magka-injury.”
“At least ready yung mga pamalit ko dun sa labas. Habang malaki yung lamang nagamit ko sila at mag-gel din sila.”
Bagalay was the only Soaring Griffin in double-figures with 12 markers, 11 coming from attacks. Faulty receptions by Bounty Fresh and excellent floor defense by libero Louwie Chavez proved to be the difference. Moreover, Bounty Fresh had no aces in the game.
The Philippine Air Force Airmen (2-1) look to clinch a semifinals berth on Wednesday, June 22 as they face the Philippine Navy Sailors. On the other hand, the Bounty Fresh Soaring Griffins (0-2) look to win their first game as they face the IEM Volley Masters on Wednesday, June 15.
PAF (3) – Ismail 13, Malabanan 12, Labrador 11, Mojica 7, Jerus 5, Fuentes 2, Tolentino 2, De Ocampo 1, Inaudito 0, Avila 0, Abria 0, Chavez (L).
Bounty Fresh (0) – Bagalay 12, Sarabia 8, Rico 5, Gacutan 5, Asia 3, David 2, Apelar 2, Ocampo 1, Manalang 1, Ortega 1, Apostol (L), Bauto (L).
Setscores: 25-20, 25-17, 25-17.