Fresh from a bronze finish in the Reinforced Conference, the PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters carried over their momentum and made quick work of the San Sebastian Golden Stags in straight sets, 25-15, 25-21, 25-21, in the Group C of the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena, Sunday.
Former National University playmaker Kim Dayandante – whom PLDT picked up before the start of the conference – played his first game as a Power Hitter. He registered two points on his debut while only playing in the first and third set.
Despite the win, PLDT head coach Odjie Mamon admitted that the team still has a lot of work to do – especially on building their chemistry with the team’s latest acquisition.
“We still have to work on, ano, doon sa changes sa line-up namin. Yun nga, we have to work on doon sa pag-jell niya [Dayandante] doon sa ibang players,” explained Mamon.
PLDT displayed their offensive brilliance, as 12 out of the 14 players fielded in the match registered a point for the Power Hitters – a testament to the team’s wide arsenal of offensive weapons.
Mark Alfafara paced the Power Hitters with 11 points built on eight attacks, two blocks, and an ace. Team captain John Vic De Guzman supplied seven markers to help PLDT in their debut victory.
Ronchette Villegas orchestrated the offensive attack with 12 excellent sets, while Rence Melgar led the defense with 22 excellent receptions.
On the other hand, Reynald Honra fired 14 points for San Sebastian. Robbie Pamittan added seven markers in a losing cause. The Stags now possess a 0-1 slate.
Also picking up their first victories were the Arellano University Chiefs and the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals.
With his team in the jaws of defeat, Christian Dela Paz lifted Arellano over the University of Sto. Tomas Tiger Spikers in cardiac fashion, 20-25, 28-26, 23-25, 25-22, 16-14, in Group D.
With the Chiefs up by two in the final set, 11-9, UST team captain Wewe Medina mustered all his strength and fired two consecutive markers to tie the game.
However, Dela Paz and CJ Segovia took over from there and gave Arellano a 13-12 advantage. UST were able to send the game to a deuce, but an attack error from Lorenz Señoron sealed the Tigers’ fate.
“Medyo napunta lang sa amin yung breaks kaya nakuha yung game, pero nice game naman sa both team[s]. Para sa amin naman, first game [kasi] namin. Kailan lang din kami bumalik sa training, so nag-enjoy lang yung mga bata,” said Arellano head coach Sherwin Meneses.
Dela Paz fired 19 markers along with eight excellent digs and eight receptions. Demy Lapuz chipped in 15 markers to help the Chiefs collect their first win of the tournament.
Segovia was a force above the net for the Chiefs, collecting seven blocks for 11 points. Meanwhile, Edmark Meneses steered the offense with 23 excellent sets.
On the other hand, UST – who were without top gunner Joshua Umandal – were led by Señoron with 21 points. Genesis Redido added 13.
As per the request of PLDT and UST head coach Odjie Mamon, Umandal will suit up for the Power Hitters for this conference.
Coming from a tight opening day loss against Adamson, EAC vented their frustrations on the National College of Business and Arts Wildcats, 25-15, 25-18, 25-17, in the final game of the day.
Joshua Mina spearheaded the offense for EAC with 14 points. Joshua Ramilo chipped in eight markers for the Generals, who scored their first victory, posting a 1-1 slate.
Vince Imperial had 18 excellent sets to orchestrate his team. Earl Magadan was a force on the defensive end with 23 excellent receptions and 13 digs.
“Expected ko naman na ganon kasi nandiyan pa yung players ko from NCAA na nag-third [place], kaya alam kong kaya nung mga bata. Mas naging aggressive [sila], tsaka yung mga pinractice namin talagang nakita ko,”said EAC head coach Rod Palmero.
The Wildcats dropped to the bottom of Group A with a 0-2 win-loss card. They were led by Daryl Valenzuela and Baden Pabalate with five points apiece.