AIR Force handed Rebisco-Philippines a huge lesson in its last exhibition match in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference as the Jet Spikers completed a come-from-behind 25-23, 9-25, 23-25, 25-23, 16-14 victory on Tuesday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
Before the Nationals leave on Wednesday for Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Volleyball Championships, the Jet Spikers erased a 1-2 deficit from the Nationals and escaped a neck-and-neck fifth set, tied at 14-all, with Fauzi Ismail and Madz Gampong delivering the match-winning kills.
Ranran Abdilla led the Air Force with 24 points off 17 attacks, six aces, and a block including 21 receptions and six digs, while Ismail had 14 markers.
Air Force decided to lend stars Bryan Bagunas, Kim Malabunga and Francis Saura to Rebisco as requested by national teamhead coach Dante Alinsunurin.
“Tinry ko ‘yung Air Force team ko kung hanggang saan sila aabot kapag wala yung sila Bryan [Bagunas], sila Kim [Malabunga], saka Francis [Saura], so ‘yun ginawa naman [nila] yung dapat nilang gawin,” said Air Force head coach Rhovyl Verayo.
But the nationals failed to win their last exhibition game despite the 26-point explosion of Bagunas as Philippines ended up with 8-3 win-loss record in their Spikers’ Turf stint.
Meanwhile, Bryan Bagunas collected 26 points on 22 attacks, three blocks, and an ace to go along with his 17 excellent receptions.
Meanwhile, Cignal vented its ire on the Animo, 25-21, 25-16, 25-17, to regain its winning ways and the top seed with an improved 10-1 record tied with Air Force.
Ysay Marasigan led Cignal with 12 points which all came from attacks, while Marck Espejo had 11 points as Cignal takes the No.1 place heading into the semifinals with 30 points, four markers clear of second seed Air Force, which has 26.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila, all they have to do is play their game,” Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor said. “Minsan kasi nakakalimutan nila kung sino sila, so ‘yun lang. Motivation lang, kailangan manalo para mataas ‘yung morale nila pagdating ng semifinals.”
Nobody scored in double figures for Animo as it bombed out of semis contention with a 5-6 card.
Instituto Estetico Manila took down Coast Guard, 27-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-20, in a no-bearing match.
Razzel Palisoc had 11 points off nine attacks and two blocks while Mark Enciso and Lorenze Santos added nine points each for IEM, which improved to 2-7 card.
Jonarth Molinyawe and Esmail Kasim had scored 14 points apiece Coast Guard, which remained winless in nine matches.