Iloilo navigated its way to the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference semifinals round after trouncing hapless Vanguard, 23-25, 25-12, 25-22, 25-21, Friday afternoon at Paco Arena.
The D’Navigators joined undefeated Cignal, 7-1 AMC-Cotabato, and 7-3 Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography in the Top Four. The HD Spikers are assured of the top seed while the other three teams can still move from spots two to four.
“Sabi ko sa team namin dapat ibuhos niyo dito sa game na ito kasi last option na natin ito para makapasok sa Top Four sabi ko gawin niyo na lahat ng makakaya niyo,” said Iloilo head coach John Kenneth Panes.
But the Volley Hitters came out of their dugout seeking to play spoiler with Vince Abrot leading the pack, they stole the first set, 25-23.
However, the D’Navigators rediscovered their lethal form and responded with a loud 25-12 equalizer.
And in the third and fourth frames, both went down the wire, Jade Disquitado, Nas Gwaza, and Rash Nursiddik displayed their composure to close out Vanguard.
Disquitado unleashed a game-high 25 points on 20 attacks, three service aces, and two blocks while middle blocker Nursiddik produced 17 points including four aces.
Gwaza chimed in 13 points as well built on five kill blocks as Iloilo improved to 7-2.
Abrot paced the Volley Hitters with 17 points to go with 11 excellent receptions while John Diwa added 10 points.
Vanguard finished the tournament at 1-9 with its only win coming from its first game before skidding down.
In a battle for better positioning in the round-robin semis, the D’Navigators and the Cotabato Spikers will clash on the final day of preliminaries on Sunday, 5:30 pm.