Youthful VNS survived veteran-laden Philippine Air Force in four tight sets, 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena in Manila on Wednesday.
Multiple Griffins breached double digits with Pemie Bagalay leading the way with 17 points and 29 excellent receptions, while Noy Pedrosa continued his rise with a career-high 15 points on 12 spikes, two blocks, and an ace.
Ron Medalla and Russel Fronda added 10 points apiece for VNS which secured its second straight win to improve to 3-2 for solo fifth.
“Magaling talaga yung kalaban namin kasi mga veteran yan eh, sa amin si Pemie at Ron lang kaya ayun nagaadjust pa rin kami sa attacks namin. Tinry namin makipagsabayan, maganda naman yung naging result,” said Griffins head coach Ralph Ocampo.
It was timely challenges that pushed VNS to take the third and fourth sets.
With the Griffins ahead by just two late in the third frame, 23-21, Airmen’s Ranran Abdilla hammered in a down-the-line spike that was first called in but VNS challenged it for ball in/ball out and was successful before Pedrosa denied Abdilla at the net, 25-22.
Leading by just one in the fourth, 23-22, Bagalay’s attempt went out and the point was given to Air Force but Ocampo challenged the call again, this time for block touch. After the review, it was deemed successful then Bagalay finished the match with another off-the-block kill.
Abdilla had a game-high 25 points while Rodolfo Labrador got 11 points for the Air Force which lost Ruben Inaudito midway through the game due to a left foot injury.
The Airmen’s defeat dragged them to 1-4, tied with National University-Archipelago for ninth.
Both will have a three-day rest before jumping back to action on Sunday with Air Force facing PGJC-Navy at 3 pm and VNS meeting Cignal at 5:30 pm.