By: Jonash Dannug
With Marck Espejo back on their side, Rebisco-Philippines made quick work of the Philippine Army Troopers, 25-12, 25-20, 25-8, in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference at Paco Arena, Manila on Thursday.
Marck Espejo led the Philippines’ balanced attack with 13 points, while Mark Alfafara added 10 to up Rebisco’s standing to 4-1.
After cruising through the first two sets, Team Philippines proved to be too much for Army. Up by 16 points in the third frame, Espejo put an emphatic end to the match with a powerful kill.
“Nag-rotate lang talaga kami sa ilang tao eh. Kumbaga kasi yung iba naglaro kanina, tapos may problema yung ibang player, kaya nag-rotate lang kami sa iilang tao kaya siguro mas maganda ‘yung laro,” said assistant coach Dong Dela Cruz, who sat in for Dante Alinsunurin as he is in Japan.
Meanwhile, Pj Rojas led the 3-2 Troopers with seven markers.
Earlier in the day, defending Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference champions Philippine Air Force-Go for Gold Jet Spikers dealt their AFP Olympics rival Philippine Coast Guard Dolphins their fifth loss of the season, picking up a four-set victory, 25-15, 24-26, 25-18, 25-19,
Ranran Abdilla scored 24 points built on 18 attacks, five aces, and a block. Meanwhile, Kim Malabunga added 15 points on 11 attacks, three blocks and an ace for the 4-1 Air Force.
“Apat na sets, medyo nag-relax kasi kami nung third set kaya ganon ang nangyari. Nawalan kami ng depensa sa likod, ‘di rin kami maka-block, so nung fourth set doon kami nag-adjust sa blockings. At least naka recover kami kaagad,” said Air Force head coach Rhovyl Verayo.
After taking the first set, Air Force dropped an extended second stanza off of an attack error from Ranran Abdilla, 24-26.
Kim Malabunga scored with a quick attack, which he then followed with a block to give Air Force a comfortable six-point cushion, 24-18. Team captain Pitrus De Ocampo then delivered the last point with an ace to put the Jet Spikers up, two sets to one.
Malabunga powered a fourth set surge which gave the Air Force a 21-14 lead. Howard Mojica punched in the final blow with a kill to give Air Force their fourth win in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Esmail Kasim had 21 points for the Coast Guard who fell to 0-5 in the tournament.
In the first game, the IEM Phoenix Volley Masters scored an upset, come-from-behind victory against the Animo Green Spikers, 17-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, 15-10, for their breakthrough win in the tournament.
“Well masaya, kasi sunod-sunod, four games na talo kami eh. Masaya, kahit papaano nagawa namin ‘yung mga kulang namin sa previous games,” said IEM head coach Pathie Jamiri.
Former San Beda star Mark Enciso fired 19 points for IEM, while Razzel Palisoc chipped in 18.
On the other hand, Animo, who fell to a 3-2 card, wete led by Green Archer Cris Dumago with 14 points. Joshua De Sequera added 11 points.