ARMY edged erstwhile unbeaten Cagayan Valley, 25-23, 19-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-13, on Thursday to assure itself of at least a playoff for the last semifinal berth in the Spikers’ Turf Season 1 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Troopers closed out the single round eliminations with a 4-3 win-loss card, moving to second behind Cagayan Valley at 6-1.
"The guys just showed their big fighting heart, that's what helped us snatch this win," said Army coach Alegro Carpio.
The other semifinalists will be only be known in two weeks’ time as the league takes a break starting on Friday as the Philippine national team sees action in the Asian Under-23 Men's Volleyball Championship set May 7 to 14 in Myanmar.
Play will resume on May 10 with a pair of crucial matches pitting Air Force against PLDT and Champion Infinity versus Fourbees-Cavite. Champion, PLDT and Air Force tote identical 3-2 cards while Cignal is just behind at 3-3.
Edmar Oxciano had 18 hits for Army, which also drew 15 points each from Patrick Rojas and skipper Ian Depamaylo, and 12 markers from Greg Dolor.
Jason Uy and Manolo Refugia came through with a combined 21 digs.
So tight was the contest that the Troopers and the Rising Suns both registered 60 kills, although the latter produced more blocks, 13-9.
UAAP MVP Marck Especo unloaded 20 hits, skipper Warren Pirante had 18, Jan Paglinawan scored 15 and Rex Intal added 10 points for the Rising Suns.
In a battle of winless teams, Fourbees-Cavite hacked out a 25-23, 20-25, 30-28, 25-21, over Instituto Estetico Manila for a 1-5 card. The Volley Masters, who ruled the inaugural Shakey’s V-League men’s tourney last year, fell to 0-6.