Jocemer Tapic, Dell Palomata star as Air Force outlasts Balipure in five-set showdown
Jocemenr Tapic and the Jet Spikers level their record with the tough win over the Water Defenders. Dante Peralta

DELL Palomata stepped up in the decider as Hair Fairy-Air Force outhit BaliPure to hack out a 23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 18-25, 15-11 victory and move to joint second with idle Pocari Sweat in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

The 6-foot-3 recruit from Bacolod unloaded a string of power hits in the fifth, including a quick attack that finished off the Water Defenders and pushed the Lady Jet Spikers alongside the Lady Warriors halfway through the single round eliminations of the mid-season conference organized by Sports Vision.

Palomata came in for starter Mae Antipuesto late in the second set and helped the Lady Jet Spikers string back-to-back set wins after blowing a four-point lead and yielding the opening frame.

Palomata, who missed the Reinforced Conference to attend basic military training in Fernando Air Base inBatangas, also anchored Air Force’s defense with a match-best four blocks.

“She made a big impact for us in both our attacks and defense and I’m happy she delivered,” said Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez.

Jocimer Tapic had 17 points and took the game’s top honors while Iari Yongco scored 16 and Mary Ann Pantino added 12.

But in the end, it was Palomata who came up with the game-changing plays.

BaliPure, which drew 17 points each from Grethcel Soltones, Aiko Urdas and Jerilli Malabanan, dropped to fourth with a 2-2 record.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph