Air Force defeats Pocari Sweat, takes semis top spot
Mark Escarlote on Jun 27, 2016 09:12 PM
Philippine Air Force hands Pocari Sweat its first loss and secured the no. 1 seed in the best-of-three semifinals.
Philippine Air Force spoiled Pocari Sweat’s attempt to sweep the elimination round and in the process occupied the no. 1 spot heading into the semifinals of the 13th V-League Open Conference.
Banking on their seasoned roster after the departure of 6-foot-3 middle Dell Palomata, the Jet Spikers defeated the Lady Warriors, 20-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-15, Monday night at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Needing to win in four or straight sets to finish with a higher tiebreak, Air Force got into trouble early as they surrendered the opening frame to the erstwhile undefeated opponent.
But with veteran setter Wendy Semana superb playmaking, the Jet Spikers bucked their sluggish start to turn back Pocari Sweat and tie their victim with a 6-1 win-loss record, getting the no. 1 spot by the tightest of margin with a 17-16 tiebreaker.
Air Force will face no. 4 seed and the team that swept them in the elims, Laoag, on Wednesday in the best-of-three semis series.
Jocemer Tapic and Joy Cases led the Jet Spikers’ onslaught with 17 points each while Judy Ann Caballejo had 14 markers with five coming off Air Force’s 15 service aces and seven digs. May Ann Pantino added 12 points while Semana dished out 44 excellent sets.
“Yun talaga, malaking factor sa amin ‘yung setter namin na si Wendy at ‘yung opposite niya na si Jud,” said the relieved Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez. “Nadala nila ang team tapos nag-contribute lahat although slow start kami yung game plan namin na kargahan ‘yung service namin nag-prosper.”
Sliding to no. 2 spot, Pocari Sweat will take on no. 3 seed BaliPure in a rematch of their epic elims encounter last Saturday where the Lady Warriors needed to comeback from a two-set deficit to escape with one of the league’s biggest comeback.
Myla Pablo scored 16 points, skipper Michele Gumabao and Elaine Kasilag had 10 markers for Pocari Sweat, which again struggled with their service receive and control of the first ball.
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