Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography either forced a rubber match in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference bronze series or sealed third place altogether after dominating Iloilo in straight sets, 25-19, 25-18, 25-21, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Friday afternoon.
The rubber match would be on Sunday if AMC-Cotabato likewise forces a decider in the finals. If Cignal wins later in the night, the AJAA Spikers will automatically be the bronze medalists due to a superior set ratio after losing in four sets in Game 1.
“What happened noong tinalo kami ng Iloilo that was a lesson for our team. I told my players na we have to get this game in three sets because whatever happens, kung manalo ang Cignal tapos na ang laban wala na kaming Game 3,” said Imus head coach Sammy Acaylar.
“Sabi ko sa mga players ko na please give your best, your skills individually then put it into one team as Imus so nangyari ngayon,‘ the Perpetual Help mentor continued.
Imus-ITP opened the game with a statement, cruising to an 11-3 lead en route to the easy 25-19 first frame.
The D’Navigators then tried to fight back in the second, tying the count at 14-all, but the AJAA Spikers broke away through the efforts of Francis Saura and Ridz Muhali while also getting aid from Iloilo’s errors, 25-18.
Rey Taneo dished out 21 excellent sets as three AJAA Spikers finished in double figures led by Ridz Muhali’s 13 points.
Kim Malabunga and Hero Austria both produced 12 points with the latter adding 16 excellent receptions and five digs.
Libero Rikko Marmeto also proved his worth with 20 receptions and 16 digs.
Being a 30-piece scorer against the AJAA Spikers in all of their three collisions this tournament, Jade Disquitado was held to just 21 points this game, going 19-of-39 in his attacks.
Help was also missing on the side of Iloilo as Rash Nursiddik was the next hugest scorer after Disquitado with just seven points.