Air Force eyes rebound win, semis spot playoff
Mark Escarlote on Jun 14, 2016 06:20 PM
Philippine Air Force looks to get back on the winning track and secure at least a semis spot playoff.
Philippine Air Force marches into battle with the mission to get back on its feet after suffering its first set back in the 13th V-League Open Conference when the Jet Spikers face National University on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
Opening serve is set at 6:00 p.m. and will be aired live over over ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23, ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD Channel 166 and via livestream on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/vleague.
After rolling past their first three opponents, the Jet Spikers were blown off the sky by the Laoag Power Smashers in a shocking 14-25, 23-25, 23-25 upset last Saturday as Air Force played without 6-foot-3 Dell Palomata.
The Jet Spikers recruit missed the match as she went back to Aklan for personal reasons but is expected to suit up this time to face 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago and the Lady Bulldogs.
Air Force is currently in second place with a 3-1 win-loss record tied with BaliPure Purest Water Defenders. Pocari Sweat holds the tops spot with a clean 4-0 slate.
Joy Cases, May Ann Pantino, Jocemer Tapic and Judy Ann Caballejo, who was limited to only seven points in their last outing after averaging 11.6 points per game, need to step up their game to get back on the winning track.
But the Jet Spikers will surely find it hard to crack a tough NU side, which according to head coach Roger Gorayeb is playing without pressure.
“Malakas ‘yun pero kami kasi lagi kong sinsasabi sa mga bata na kapag naglaro tayo nothing to lose,” said the mentor, who added that he is using the exposure in this tournament to work on his young teams chemistry for the next UAAP season.
The Lady Bulldogs are tied with Laoag with 2-2 slate and are coming off a swift 25-15, 25-16, 25-18, disposal of provincial team Iriga two days ago.
NU will lean on its explosive duo of Santiago and Jorelle Singh, who occupy the top two spots in scoring, with setter Jasmin Nabor.
Nabor, a converted playmaker, is currently in second spot in the statistics race for setters behind Air Force’s Wendy Semana.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles