Palomata fuels Lady Jet Spikers into winning streak

Palomata fuels Lady Jet Spikers into winning streak
MAGIC BUNOT. Dell Palomata (9) provided the big boost that sent Iari Yongco (4) and Air Force to back-to-back wins.

Dell Palomata burned like diesel and just got better and better for the Philippine Air Force’s in its match against BaliPure at the Filoil Flying V Centre, Sunday.

Behind their rising middle blocker, the Lady Jet Spikers bested the well-rested Water Defenders in five closely-contested sets, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 18-25, and 25-11 and bagged back-to-back wins in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.

Palomata fired 16 markers off the bench and, more importantly, scored her team’s last two points. “Kulang kami sa gitna kaya buti na lang maganda yung pagkabunot ko sa kanya. She was a big factor for us,” head coach Jasper Jimenez said.

The reserve did not see action in the first set before being sent in to steady the middle of the net for Jimenez. She did just that especially in the most crucial moments of the game.

Her timely hits stopped Grethcel Soltones and BaliPure dead in their tracks and sent Air Force into the second spot in the standings – tied with also 3-1 Pocari Sweat. “Magandang panalo ito sa amin kasi lumaki yung chance namin para makaabot sa top four spot,” Jimenez expressed.

After the two teams equally divided the first four sets, the Lady Jet Spikers seemed to be on their way to a win with an 11-4 start in the decider.

Risa Sato wasn’t going down without a fight, however, and pulled the Water Defenders to within three, 10-13.

It was at that point that coming off a timeout, Air Force's lady in the middle hammered down a beautiful set from Joy Cases to bring her team to match point.

Soltones drilled a point of her own to keep the door open for BaliPure, but that opening was shut once and for all by another hit from the middle by Palomata.

Iari Yongco also added 16 points of her own while Jocemar Tapic top-scored for the Lady Jet Spikers with 17 points. Their 9-4 edge in terms of aces was a big boost as well to their biggest win thus far in the tournament.

For the Water Defenders, Soltones, Jerrili Malabanan, and Aiko Urdas poured in 17 points each.

Playing for the first time in nine days, the well-rested side still to fell short in trying to deny Palomata’s timely hits. They now stand at 2-2.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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