By: Jonash Dannug
Playing without four of their top spikers, the Rebisco-Philippines leaned on Fauzi Ismail as they outmuscled the young Animo Green Spikers in straight-sets, 25-23, 25-14, 25-16, in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference at the Paco Arena, Thursday.
Rebisco, who played without top guns Marck Espejo, John Vic De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, and Bryan Bagunas, picked up its sixth game in seven outings.
Ismail took the cudgels and fired 13 points to lead Rebisco while Ranran Abdilla and Rex Intal added 11 and nine, respectively.
Up by two, 11-9, the Nationals sparked a 14-5 blitz built on seven errors from Animo to take the second set with ease, 25-14.
Kieffer Reyes sliced Rebisco’s lead to three, 15-18, in the third set. However, multiple errors from Animo’s side buried them deep late in the game and a Rex Intal block bagged the victory for the Philippines.
“Sakin basta maging handa lang ‘yung nasa line-up namin, kung sino ‘man ‘yung nasa line-up namin, ang importante is ‘yung sistema namin na sinasabi ko sa kanila lagi is makuha nila,” said national team head coach Dante Alinsunurin. “Matagal pa naman ‘yung preparation kaya hanggat maari, namimili talaga kami sa kanila.”
Animo, who dropped to a 4-3 standing, was led by Vince Abrot with 10 points.
The Sta. Elena Ball Hammers maintained their composure in end-game as they slipped past the IEM Phoenix Volley Masters in a five-set showdown, 25-16,25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 22-20, to open the triple-header.
The Ball Hammers established their presence early in the game after taking a two-sets-to-none lead against the Volley Masters. IEM then stunned Sta. Elena as they took the third and fourth sets via a Joven Camaganakan kill which sent the game to a deciding fifth set.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair in the final stanza which saw both teams exchanging points back and forth. With the game at the tip of Sta. Elena’s hands, 14-13, an attack error from Nico Almendras sent the game to a deuce.
With the game tied at 20-all, Almendras atoned for his mistakes as he converted a kill following a service error from Lorenz Santos to seal the deal for the Ball Hammers.
“I give it to IEM, talagang gusto rin nila manalo. Nagkataon lang na sa fifth set medyo nakabawi kami so ayon, nakuha namin ‘yung game,” said Sta. Elena assistant coach Dong Dela Cruz.
Camposano fired 24 markers while fellow NU Bulldogs Berhashidin Daymil and Almedras chipped in 18 and 14, respectively to give Sta. Elena its fourth win of the conference.
On the other hand, Palisoc led the Volley Masters’ gallant stand with 23 points built on 19 attacks, three blocks, and an ace while Enciso contributed 16 points.
Looking to sustain their momentum, the Volleyball Never Stops Volleyball Club (VNS VC) Griffins made quick work of the Philippine Coast Guard Dolphins, 25-22, 25-15, 25-23, later in the day.
French reinforcement Jeremy Merat top scored the game with 14 points built on 10 attacks, two aces, and two blocks while Tony Koyfman chipped in seven markers for the 2-3 VNS.
“Nagawa lang nung players ko yung role nila kasi yung game namin against Coast Guard, sabi ko kailangan ‘yung mga second stringer ko mag step-up. Gusto ko ma-maximize namin ‘yung line-up namin, kumbaga lahat gumana,” said VNS head coach Ralph Ocampo.
Meanwhile, Esmail Kasim tallied 12 points on eight attacks, three aces, and a block for the Dolphins, who have lost seven games in as many tries.