AIR Force regained its lost glory when it swept defending champion Cignal in the best-of-three finals series of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.
Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas finished with 30 points as the Jet Spikers pulled off a 23-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-25, 15-13 victory over the HD Spikers.
Ranran Abdilla also had 18 points and 19 excellent receptions and skipper Jeffrey Malabanan chipped in 12 for Air Force, which also needed five sets in Game One.
“Masaya kaming lahat kasi nabawi na namin ang championship at hindi basta-bastang championship ilang hirap na laban (ang pinagdaanan namin),” said Air Force coach Rhovyl Verrayo.
The Jet Spikers, who only finished runner-up in the Reinforced Conference and third in the Open Conference last year, got Abdilla back on their squad after recovering from a major knee injury.
“Syempre medyo kumpleto na ang team ko last year kasi wala si Abdilla eh medyo may injury noong season 2017 na -ACL kasi siya tapos nasa recovery pa rin pero nakakabawi na sa laro kahit papaano,” said Verrayo.
MVP Marck Espejo led Cignal with 41 points, while Wendel Miguel added 11 markers.
Verrayo, however, admitted that Espejo’s powerful attacks pushed them to the limit especially in the fourth and fifth set.
“Ang hirap nang pigilan (ni Espejo) kahit nandoon na ‘yung block namin talagang gumagawa siya ng puntos,” he said. “Kung minsan napapadaan niya sa gitna ng dalawang blocker minsan naman ibabaw so hindi ko mabasa, hindi talaga namin mabasa kung ano ang gagawin.”
“So kinakabahan ako kasi ‘yun nga unstoppable na si Espejo buti na lang nagkakamisreception sila so umaabanse kami kahit papaano,” he added.