Troopers stay alive; Coffee Lovers winless no more

Troopers stay alive; Coffee Lovers winless no more
FANNING THE FLAMES. Army gave itself a shot in the arm with a big-time victory versus IEM.

Needing a big-time boost to stay in the running in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, Romnick Rico and Benjaylo Labide delivered for Philippine Army.

Behind those two, the Troopers overcame a sloppy showing and overcame Instituto Estetico Manila in five sets, 25-23, 24-26, 25-21, 21-25, and 15-11 on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Rico and Labide scored 19 and 15 points, respectively, to help their team survive 36 errors.

It was Michael Medina and Antonio Torres, however, who steadied the ship in the endgame and turned an 11-10 cushion into a four-point win in the fifth set.

The hard-fought win puts a stop to Army’s two-game slide and pushes them forward in the playoff race now with a 2-3 card. “Kulang kami sa panalo, pero lagi ko na lang sinasabi na ibigay pa rin natin yung best natin sa bawat laro,” head coach Rico de Guzman said.

The Troopers are now knotted with also 2-3 Sta. Elena for the fourth and final semifinals spot.

On the other hand, the loss dragged down the Phoenix Volley Masters to sixth with a 2-4 standing.

Mark Christian Enciso’s 26-point outburst proved to be far from enough to make up for the absence of Greg Dolor who is fulfilling his duties with the national team.

Meanwhile, Gamboa Coffee is finally on the board in its fifth try after proving stronger than Café Lupe in four sets, 25-21, 25-22, 18-25, and 27-25.

The two teams headed into their clash winless through four games.

At the end of this one, however, the Coffee Lovers’ brew proved to be stronger. “Ang tagal, pero sobrang saya na nakuha na rin namin ang first win dito,” head coach Mario Mia expressed.

All of it was made possible by a total team effort with Alfred Pagulong scoring 13 points, Angelino Pertierra scoring 12 points, and Mark Egan scoring 11 points.

Standing at 1-4, Gamboa wants nothing more than to keep learning in their last two assignments. “Yung pinaka-goal naman namin is to gain experience. We will try to win, of course, pero kung hindi kaya, gusto lang namin ipakita kung ano kaya namin,” Mia said.

The loss was the fifth in a row for the Sunrisers.

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