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Palomata, Cases keep Air Force’s semis hopes alive, rip Choco Mucho

Reeling from a five-set loss to Bali Pure, the Philippine Air Force Lady Jet Spikers dumped their frustrations on the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, 20-25, 25-18, 29-27, 26-24, to keep their semis hopes alive in the 2019 PVL Open Conference, Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Dell Palomata proved to be a tower of power for the Air Force, while Joy Cases melted Choco Mucho with her searing assault as the Lady Jet Spikers soared to 6-7 to stay in range for a semifinals spot.

“Must-win. Talagang kailangang kapitan ‘yun. Tumaas din ang kompiyansa namin kasi nanalo kami sa AFP Olympics sa Army. Sabi ko, ‘Dala-dala ‘to’,” Air Force head coach Jasper Jimenez said.

Palomata hammered down 15 points built on 10 attacks and four kill blocks. She roamed at the net for Air Force, which stymied the Flying Titans with 11 rejections. Cases dealt damage with all but a point of her 15 markers coming off attacks, while also collecting 13 excellent receptions.

Judy Caballejo supplied 11 points, while Angel Antipuesto and May Ann Pantino chimed in nine markers each. Pantino also had 20 excellent digs to post a double-double outing. Meanwhile, Air Force playmaker Wendy Semana delivered 18 excellent sets.

Staring down a 17-20 deficit in the decisive fourth frame, the Lady Jet Spikers fought back and snatched the lead through the offensive exploits of Pantino, who nailed a kill to put Air Force at match point, 24-23.

Manilla Santos-Ng — who started in each set — pierced through the block and provided the equalizer that forged a deuce. Refusing to extend the match into a decider, Palomata roofed Bea De Leon, before Caballejo pummeled the lethal blow.

#ReadMore  Alora camp confident of jin's chances

On the other hand, the Flying Titans have suffered heartbreak after heartbreak.

Choco Mucho has fallen out of the Final Four contention following Motolite’s victory over Bali Pure earlier in the day. The Rebisco-backed team then stumbled to a 6-9 record with the loss to Air Force.

To cap it all off, the Choco Mucho trio of Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag, and De Leon saw their double-digit outings go down the drain. Tolentino topped her team with 16 points from 14 attacks and a pair of blocks. Meanwhile, Madayag and De Leon added 15 and 11 markers, respectively.

Santos-Ng churned out a conference-best performance of nine points and 14 excellent digs that also went for naught, while Choco Mucho setter AC Masangkay tossed 22 excellent sets.

Air Force will now prepare for another must win game against Petro Gazz Angels on Wednesday, October 16. Meanwhile, Choco Mucho also face Petro Gazz next on October 23. Both matches will be played at the same venue.

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