By: Jonash Dannug
Playing without top guns Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, Rebisco-Philippines still proved to be too much for the IEM Phoenix Volley Masters, picking-up a four-set victory, 25-27, 25-22,25-22, 26-24, in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference at the Paco Arena, Tuesday.
With Espejo out for a one-week trip in Japan, Ranran Abdilla took the cudgels by scoring 17 points for Rebisco, who rose to 5-1 in the standings. Kim Malabunga and Rex Intal contributed 14 and 12 markers, respectively.
With a slim one-point lead in the third set, 23-21, Rebisco’s twin towers Intal and Malabunga scored on two consecutive blocks to give RP team a 2-1 advantage.
Tied at 24-all, Joven Camaganakan committed a service error, followed by a block from Josh Umandal gave the fourth set to the Nationals.
“Medyo kalat-kalat yung game, [pero] yung blocking namin, medyo nag-work nung kailangang-kailangan namin ng puntos. Yung blocking ni Rex [Intal] saka Kim [Malabunga], yun ang importante doon,” said Rebisco assistant coach Dong Dela Cruz.
Rebisco imposed their height on IEM, racking up 17 blocks compared to five.
On the other hand, IEM, who dropped to a 1-5 record, was paced by Camaganakan with 20 points.
Coming off a sorry loss last Sunday against Philippine Navy, the Sta. Elena Ball Hammers were able to pick up their third win of the conference against Easytrip-Raimol in a four-set win, 28-26, 25-21, 21-25, 25-21, earlier in the afternoon.
After taking the opening stanza, Edward Camposano and Krisvan Ponti did not let their guards down and scored two consecutive points to grab the second set.
UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year Nico Almendras then converted two attacks to seal the deal and lift Sta. Elena to an even 3-3 slate.
Camposano fired a personal conference-high 25 points built on 20 attacks, four aces, and a block. Meanwhile, Almendras added 22 markers.
“Medyo bata pa kasi yung team eh, yung maturity medyo wala pa. Pagdating ng third set, nag-relax [sila], so nakakuha ng isang set yung Easytrip,” said Dela Cruz, who also handled coaching duties for Sta. Elena.
Easytrip – who remain winless in seven tries – was led by Mardy Galang with 19 points.
In the first game, the Animo Green Spikers averted a disaster from the upset-seeking Philippine Coast Guard Dolphins in five sets, 27-29, 25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 15-8.
“Pinaka-main goal namin dito is experience, so most of our games is fifth set. Sa mga previous game [kasi] namin pangit sa gitna tapos biglang sa dulo, doon lang babatak,” said Animo assistant coach Arnold Laniog, who filled in for head coach Aaron Velez.
Vince Abrot led Animo with 19 points, while Roniey Adviento and Cris Dumago had 16 and 15, respectively.
Coast Guard are still winless in six outings.
Esmail Kasim fired a game-high 27 points for the Dolphins. Rudy Gatdula added 16.