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Playoff-bound Airmen conquer Sailors

The playoff-bound Philippine Air Force Airmen conquered the winless Philippine Navy Sailors in four sets, 25-18, 22-25, 25-17, 25-19, in the Open Conference of Spikers’ Turf 2016, Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Coming off a two-week break, the Air Force showed a bit of rust, according to head coach Rhovyl Verayo.

“Nag-ikot din ako mg tao kasi may mga players kaming off. Siguro dahil na rin sa haba ng pahinga. Marami pa ring adjustments [na kinailangan],” said Verayo.

A close first set saw the opposing sides only separated by a point, 14-13, when Air Force pulled away with an 11-5 run, capped off by back-to-back service aces by Arvin Avila, his only points of the game.

Navy had a lead as high as six points in the second set, 19-13, when the Airmen trimmed the advantage to just one, 20-19, via a 6-1 mini-run. Attacks from various angles by Dave Pletado and Kurl Rosete, however, closed the set for the Sailors, 25-22.

Pletado and Rosete scored 11 and 5, respectively. Nur Amin Madsairi also scored 11 for Navy, all coming from spikes.

The Air Force, then, relied on their floor defense and blocking, with five of their 13 total blocks coming in the third set. They finished the set, 25-17, to lead 2-1.

Verayo, however, was quick to downplay his team’s blocking.

“Marami pa ring adjustments, lalo na sa blocking. Medyo hindi kuntento ‘yung coaching staff,” he said.

The Airmen closed the game in the fourth set, which they even trailed 7-8 coming into the first technical timeout. Solid cross court hits from Howard Mojica and consecutive service aces by Reyson Fuentes, though, created the separation they needed.

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Mojica scored 12 in the game, with 11 coming off attacks, while Fuentes scored seven, with four service aces, to help Air Force close the set, 25-19, and the match 3-1.

Fauzi Ismail was the top-scorer for the Airmen with 13 attacks and three blocks.

Air Force (3-1) will next face IEM (3-1) on Saturday, while the Sailors (0-4) will try to mark a win in their last game of the conference against the also winless Bounty Fresh (0-4) on Monday.

“Importante na makuha namin ‘yung panalo [sa last game], para pag-pasok namin ng semis, mataas ‘yung morale,” closed Verayo.

The Scores:

Air Force (3) – Ismail 16, Malabanan 12, Mojica 12, Labrador 10, Jerus 7, Fuentes 7, Inaudito 4, Avila 2, Abria 1, Lopez 0, Tolentino 0, De Ocampo 0, Chavez (L), Pangan (L)

Navy (1) – Pletado 11, Madsairi 11, Sudaria 6, Palisoc 5, Rosete 5, Sapida 4, Premaylon 4,Macalma 3, Cacayuran 2, Encisa 0, Medino 0, Almario (L), Chua (L)

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