Clipped wings: Palomata doubtful to return for Air Force
Mark Escarlote on Jun 22, 2016 08:32 PM
Ini-expect na rin namin yun na less Palomata kami --- Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez
Philippine Air Force braces for a tough battle ahead without the towering presence of their recruit Dell Palomata.
The Jet Spikers secured a semifinals seat in the 13th V-League Open Conference Wednesday after a 25-23, 25-17, 25-18 win over Iriga and played for the second time in three games sans the 6-foot-3 Palomata.
Head coach Jasper Jimenez said that Palomata started her senior year in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod and could be out for the rest of the conference.
“Ini-expect na rin namin yun na less Palomata kami,” said Jimenez, whose wards will end the elims against Pocari Sweat on Monday.
Palomata also skipped the Jet Spikers’ loss against Laoag to enroll at USLS and returned last week as Air Force escaped a five-setter against National University. Palomata only had five points in the anticipated matchup against 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago of NU.
“Talagang hindi na siya papayagan (na maglaro). Kasi ang usapan naman namin ay kapag may pasok na hindi na siya makakalaro,” Jimenez added.
Palomata averaged 8.75 points in four outings for Air Force and her height intimidates the opposing hitters in front of the net.
Jimenez hopes that USLS will have a change of heart and still allow Palomata to play.
“Siguro may pagbabago pa rin yan di ba?” said Jimenez. “Baka maawa sa amin ang St. La Salle at biglang palaruin si Dell magsi-semis naman na eh.”
For now the Air Force mentor is looking at Iari Yongco, Jennifer Manzano and Camille Abanto to fill in the void.
“Kaya ipinasok ko sa second set (against Iriga) ang aking mga second stringers para magkakompiyansa, mag-step up sila sa next game,” he said.
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