Philippine Air Force regained its composure late after squandering a two-set lead against National University-Archipelago, 25-21, 30-28, 20-25, 17-25, 15-4, for its first win in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena on Sunday evening.
Rodolfo Labrador led the Airmen onslaught with 20 points, all from spikes, while Edwin Tolentino and Ranran Abdilla chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Jessie Lopez, who is an assistant coach of the Volley Builders, steered Air Force (1-2) with 25 excellent sets to go with two blocks and five digs.
“Medyo nagbunga yung ensayo namin nung nakaraan. Nagjejell na kami, nakukuha na namin yung first ball namin saka ‘yung blocking medyo nakukuha na rin namin kaya medyo maganda ‘yung laro ng mga bata,” said Airmen coach Jhim Merza.
National U forced multiple deuces in the second frame only to succumb to a Ruben Inaudito ace and a Lopez denial on Mac Bandola’s attempt to go down 0-2, 30-28.
But the Volley Builders, who were missing starting setter Joseph Bello and spiker Bryan Jaleco, showed their grit in the next two sets to force a decider on the backs of Bandola, Jan Abanilla, and Ahmad Abdul.
However, the Airmen were just too powerful in the fifth, riding the hhot hands of Tolentino en route to the blowout victory, 15-4.
“Yung fourth set sa amin dapat yun kaso pinabayaan nila kaya yung fifth set, sabi ko sa kanila ayusin nila kasi mahirap maghabol so umpisa pa lang i-all out na nila para dire-diretso,” said Merza.
Bandola’s 31 points for National U went for naught. National team pool member Leo Ordiales added 15 points, while Abanilla and Ahmad got 12 and 11 points, respectively for the 0-3 Volley Builders.
Air Force will look to continue its winning ways against powerhouse Cignal on Friday at 5:30 pm, while National U meets VNS next Sunday at 3 pm.