Jet Spikers draw first blood in semis series
Mark Escarlote on Jun 29, 2016 05:57 PM
Philippine Air Force moves closer for a first-ever championship appearance.
Top seed Philippine Air Force got the revenge win against the only team that dealt the Jet Spikers a loss in the eliminations.
The Jet Spikers also inched closer to their first championship round appearance.
Judy Ann Caballejo and her veteran Air Force crew drew first blood in Game One of the best-of-three 13th V-League Open Conference semifinals series with an emphatic 25-20, 26-24, 26-24, victory against the Laoag Power Smashers on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
Game 2 is on Saturday at the same venue.
The Jet Spikers, who were swept by Laoag in the elims, showed their advantage in experience as they kept their composure throughout the whole match, climbing out of early deficits to push the young Powers Smashers against the wall.
"Sana magtuluy-tuloy and ibigay pa sa amin yung isa to the finals. Lahat naman ng teams yun ang ini-aim e na makarating sa championship. Kaunting sakripisyo pa," said Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez.
Joy Cases and Caballejo led the Jet Spikers with 15 points apiece while Jocemer Tapic and May Ann Pantino finished with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Cases pounded 14 kills while Caballejo nailed 11 spikes, three aces and a kill block for Air Force.
Caballejo turned back the hands of time as the University of Sto. Tomas product broke a 23-23 deadlock in the third set with an off the block kill before hammering the final nail in the Power Smashers’ coffin with an ace.
Air Force dictated the tempo of the match in the second set when it overhauled a 16-22 deficit to tie it at 23 from Iari Yongco’s service aces. The Jet Spikers reached match point as Laoag hitter Jessica Galanza’s spike hit the net.
Mylene Paat saved a set point for the Power Smashers before Caballejo sealed the frame with a cross court hit followed by a sharp service winner.
Jimenez said that experience got them through especially in the last two frames.
"Siguro mga beterano na ang mga player ko na ito. Dati na nilang na-experience yung ganoon hanggang sa ngayon tinutuloy lang nila and ang confidence level tumataas na talaga," he said.
Paat finished with 13 points, Jovielyn Prado had 12 while Galanza scored 11 for the Power Smashers.
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