PVL: Lady Jet Spikers remain in semis hunt

Mark Escarlote on Oct 12, 2019 06:58 PM
PVL: Lady Jet Spikers remain in semis hunt
Philippine Air Force remained in contention for a semifinals seat after sending also-ran ChocoMucho to its third straight defeat. (Josh Albelda)

Philippine Air Force kept its flickering semifinals hopes alive after completing an elimination round sweep of also-ran ChocoMucho, 20-25, 25-18, 29-27, 26-24, Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Bouncing back from a stinging five-set loss to BaliPure, the Lady Jet Spikers improved to 6-7 win-loss record to remain in contention for a Final Four berth while sending Flying Titans reeling to their third straight defeat.

Air Force banked on the veteran duo of Dell Palomata and Joy Cases to recover from a first set setback and duplicate its first round win over ChocoMucho, who came in the match looking to spoil the Lady Jet Spikers’ semis bid after getting booted out from the race following Motolite’s ninth win earlier.

“Must-win talagang kailangang kapitan yun. Tumaas din ang kompiyansa namin kais nanalo kami sa AFP Olympics sa Army sabi ko, ‘dala-dala ‘to’,” said Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez. “Kanina first set buti nakabawi kami kanina. Ang ganda rin ng nilaro nila, biruin mo lamang na kami ng lima hinabol pa kami buti naka-bounceback kami sa kanila.”

Cases scored all but one of her points on attacks and added 13 excellent receptions while Palomata had 10 kills, four kill blocks and an ace for Air Force. Judy Ann Caballejo fired 11 points while May Ann Pantino and Angel Antipuesto chipped in nine points each for the Jet Spikers, who need to win all of their remaining games and pray that Motolite (9-5), BanKo (9-5) and PetroGazz (9-3) won't reach 10 wins to force a playoff for Final Four berth.

Air Force survived an extended third set and again found itself trailing, 17-20, in the fourth. The Lady Jet Spikers rallied to take a 23-21 lead off Pantino’s back-to-back hits before Bea De Leon stopped the bleeding for ChocoMucho on a kill.

Air Force was whistled for two touches before Pantino sent the Lady Jet Spikers at match point, 24-23. Manilla Santos-Ng saved a match point on a crosscourt hit but Palomata gave Air Force another match point advantage on a crisp kill block on Kat Tolentino before Caballejo sealed the win with a kill.

ChocoMucho dropped to 6-9 slate at seventh spot.

Tolentino finished with 16 points while Maddie Madayag and De Leon got 15 and 11 markers, respectively, as the Flying Titans absorbed two stinging heartbreaks in just one day.



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