Air Force steals Game 1, outlasts Pocari Sweat in thriller

Mark Escarlote on Jul 13, 2016 09:18 PM
Air Force steals Game 1, outlasts Pocari Sweat in thriller
Jocemer Tapic of Philippine Air Force engages Desiree Dadang of Pocari Sweat in a joust.

Philippine Air Force showed their veteran composure, coming back from a 1-2 match deficit before silencing the rookie team Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors to move a win away from hoisting the 13th V-League Open Conference title.

The Jet Spikers completed a thrilling come-from-behind 17-25, 25-20, 15-25, 26-24, 15-11, win Wednesday night stealing Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City. 

Seasoned hitters May Ann Pantino, Judy Ann Caballejo, Joy Cases, Jocemer Tapic and playmaker Wendy Semana played in their vintage form to defeat a much younger Lady Warriors side bannered by Myla Pablo, Elaine Kasilag and Michele Gumabao.   

Pantino finished with 17 points, Cases had14 while Tapic registered 11 markers for Air Force, which plucked markers from the service line.     

“Fighting spirit siguro namin talaga ‘yung nagpataas ng morale sa amin kahit na malayo na ‘yung lamang namin is ‘yung pagigingg isa namin, pagiging solid namin, ‘yun siguro ‘yung naging key doon sa laro,” said Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez.

“Dumaan kami sa butas ng karayom kanina nakita lang namin siguro mas may pundasyon ang training namin at sinwerte kami,” he added.

Draining the fight out of Pocari Sweat in the fourth set, the Jet Spikers rode on their momentum to build an 11-6 lead. The Lady Warriors slowly chipped down their deficit to 11-13.

Pantino smashed a hit to the back row that Pocari Sweat libero Melissa Gohing failed to control before Tapic penetrated the three-woman block to end the match.

Game 2 is on Saturday.

Pocari Sweat built an early 11-3 lead in the fourth. Air Force fired back and closed the gap 12-13 only to see the Lady Warriors pull away, 20-14, after Desiree Dadang’s service ace.

The Jet Spikers again cut their deficit to 18-20 and eventually tied it at 22.

Kasilag scored but Joy Cases answered with a down the line hit. Jocemer Tapic threw away a point on a service error but Pocari Sweat had the same miscue from the service line from Lutgarda Malaluan for a 24-all tie.

Air Force saved the set to force a decider with two straight points capped by an off the block kill by Joy Cases.      

Pocari Sweat absorbed its second loss at the hands of Air Force after dropping a four-setter in their elimination round meeting.

Gumabao ended her night with 22 points, Pablo had 18 while Kasilag and Desiree Dadang finished with 17 and 11 markers, respectively, for the Lady Warriors, who again just like in the semifinals is down 0-1 in the series. 



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