Wayne Marco steered the Eco Oil-De La Salle University Green Spikers for a share of lead in the stacked Group B in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, taking down the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates in four sets, 25-16, 23-25, 25-14, 25-20.
Eco Oil-De La Salle tied the Go for Gold-Air Force Jet Spikers at the top with identical 2-0 cards.
Marco kick-started the offense with 23 excellent sets to go along with seven markers while John Mark Ronquillo led the Green Spikers in the scoring department with 14 points coming from 11 hits, two aces, and a block.
John Delos Reyes and Billie Anima added 10 points apiece with the latter also tallying 15 receptions and nine digs.
“Tuloy tuloy lang, trabaho lang since bata yung team namin kailangan lang namin ma-expose at the same time pag-aaralan namin yung mga kailangan pang palakasin na area. Yung consistency sa serve, sa attack, doon sa mga skills na pwedeng maging consistent kasi controlled natin ‘yan,” said Eco Oil head coach Arnold Laniog.
LPU skipper Juvic Colonia had 10 points while Kier Tibayan chipped in nine points for the Pirates who remain winless with a 0-2 standing.
Gathering their first victories for the conference was the Philippine Coast Guard Dolphins and the Mapua University Cardinals.
After dropping all of their games last conference, the Dolphins finally tasted their first victory at the expense of AFP Olympics rival BCDA-Philippine Army Troopers in a five-set thriller, 15-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-17, 15-12, earlier in the day.
“Sobrang saya, kasi nakapanalo kami ngayong pangalawang [conference]. Sobrang sobrang saya namin. Kaya kami nanalo dahil sa tulong ng bawat isa, yung pagkakaisa. Last season yun yung wala sa amin, watak watak sila. Pero ngayon, nakikita ko nabubuo kahit papaano,” said Coast Guard head coach Jeffrey Dela Cruz.
Down by two sets in the match, the Dolphins banked on Esmail Kasim and Lerry Francisco to force a deciding fifth set.
With Coast Guard up by two, 8-6 in the decider, Kevin Liberato ignited a 3-0 run to give Army the lead, 9-8. However, Esmail Kasim and Eddiemar Kasim fired the differential hits while Francisco put up the finishing touches with a quick and a block to seal the deal for Coast Guard.
Former Perpetual Altas star Kasim tallied 19 points built on 15 attacks, two blocks, two aces, and 15 excellent receptions while Francisco manned the net with five blocks for 14 markers to help Coast Guard nab the third seed in Group C with a 1-1 card.
Eddiemar Kasim and Jemmy Entig had 12 and 10 points, respectively, while team captain Al-Frazin Abdulwahab dished out 28 excellent sets for the Dolphins.
On the other hand, PJ Rojas scored 14 points for the Troopers who absorbed their third loss in as many outings.
In the nightcap, the Cardinals gave the debuting San Beda University Red Spikers a harsh welcome, dealing their NCAA counterpart a five-set heartbreaker, 25-17, 17-25, 22-25, 26-24, 15-13.
Mapua’s 1-2 punch of Emmanuel Dizon and John Benedict San Andres provided most of the damage with the former scattering 19 points founded on 13 attacks, four blocks, and two aces while the latter fired 17 hits for 18 markers to go along with 19 digs and 12 receptions.
Mark Egan was also instrumental, finishing with 16 markers while Michael Pulga had 21 excellent sets to help the Cardinals arrest their two-game skid en route to a 1-2 win-loss slate.
“Mental toughness lang yung binigay ko sa mga bata kasi mga bata pa ito talaga e, kaya kailangan lang namin tumibay.” said Mapua head coach Paul Doloiras.
“Skills kasi nandiyan na yun e, ‘pag dating sa laruan ‘di mo alam kung paano patatapangin. Pero at least kahit papaano, yung panalo na ‘to malaking bagay,” he added.
Jeffrey Losa and Abdurasad Nursiddik provided the spark for the Red Spikers with 18 and 15 points, respectively, in a losing cause.