Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography scored a successful Spikers’ Turf debut with a tight four-set win over the young Santa Rosa City, 25-22, 28-26, 29-31, 25-16, in the 2023 Open Conference, Sunday at the Paco Arena.
Louie Ramirez, who previously played for Cignal, scored 17 points in his AJAA Spikers debut. Meanwhile, Kim Malabunga and Josh Villanueva added 14 and 11 points each.
Ish Polvorosa steered the offense with a game-high 30 excellent sets to go along with two points.
“To tell you frankly, I am not satisfied with the performance of my team. Although we won the game… It’s great that we won that game, but because of… Kumbaga, struggling pa kami on getting all the players to intact sa training,” said Imus head coach Sammy Acaylar.
After taking the first two sets, the AJAA Spikers found themselves in a 22-24 hole in the third set but managed to turn it into a 25-22 advantage after Ridzuan Muhali ignited a 3-0 spurt with a down-the-line kill.
It was a back-and-forth affair from there before Anrie Bakil and Kevin Montemayor took over in the extended set for Santa Rosa. Bakil hammered a kill to tie the game at 29 before the San Beda standout finished it off with back-to-back hits to send the game to a fourth set.
Imus bounced back strong and took a lopsided 25-16 win in the next frame to close out a gutsy Lions side.
“Actually we only had two days to prepare with eight players only. So ngayon lang kami nakumpleto. This is the first time na mabuo kami. They are all good, I respect their skills kaya sabi ko lang sa kanila buoin lang natin para makita natin kung saan tayo nagkukulang,” he added.
Montemayor led Santa Rosa with 16 points on 13 attacks, two aces, and a block while Exequiel Quezada and Gabriel Magsino added 10 points each.
Imus takes on Philippine Air Force on Sunday at 4:00 PM. On the other hand, Santa Rosa looks to bounce back against Cignal on Friday also at 4:00 PM.