Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography toppled Iloilo, 25-23, 11-25, 25-20, 25-15, but still dropped from Finals contention in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference round-robin semifinals, Monday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
The AJAA Spikers and the D’Navigators both finished the semis at 1-2 but the former’s woeful second set cost them their Finals hopes.
Iloilo, on the other hand, is now hoping that AMC-Cotabato loses in straight sets to Cignal later in the day to be the squad entering the championship round.
If that happens, the D’Navigators will have the set ratio advantage in a triple tie with Imus and AMC at 1-2 with three points each.
“Ang katotohanan masaya pero on second thought, malungkot because pinaghandaan din namin yung mga ibang kalaban namin pero masaya ako kasi nanalo naman kami ngayon one of the best teams yung Iloilo tapos tinalo namin,” said AJAA Spikers head coach Sammy Acaylar.
Iloilo looked poise to turn the game around after a monster 25-11 second frame which eliminated Imus from finals contention, but that was not the case.
The AJAA Spikers fought back in the third set with Hero Austria and Kim Malabunga conniving while also getting help from D’Navigators errors, 25-20, before running away in the fourth to complete the victory.
Austria made his presence felt all over the floor with 17 points on 12 attacks. four blocks, and an ace. He also tallied 20 excellent receptions, and seven digs.
Middle blockers Ronniel Rosales and Malabunga also produced 12 and 10 points, respectively, as libero Rikko Marmeto made 15 receptions and nine digs.
D’Navigators young star Jade Disquitado erupted for 30 points but it all went for naught.
Renz Engay also contributed 11 points for Iloilo, which missed Jerome Cordez for most of the game due to pain in his right shoulder – his dominant arm.