TWO-time champion PLDT Air Force recovered from a slow start to turn back debuting Cavite, 30-28, 25-12, 25-17, in the men's division of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix at the Cuneta Astrodome on Wednesday.
Ranran Abdilla finished with 14 points despite playing for only the first two sets, while Ron Jay Galang added 10 for the Power Attackers.
JP Torres, fielded in only in the third set, scored all of his seven points during that stretch, capped by a game-winning service ace.
“Eversince last conference slow start talaga kami, tapos may mga bagong players pa kaya nag-aadjust pa kami," said PLDT Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez.
The team only had two weeks of preparation prior to the tournament, but owing to the league’s schedule, got a longer time of getting ready for the meet.
Part of the PLDT team that bagged the team’s first championship returned to the team headed by former MVP Kheeno Franco, Dominico Lucindo, Henry Pecana, and Gilbert Longavela.
Jimenez, though, knew the Patriots Fourbees, mostly composed of players from Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, and Cavite selection, could not last in a neck-to-neck battle.
"Ang players nila (galing sa) Army (at) Navy, nakakalaban namin sila sa AFP Olympics tapos 'yung iba Cavite selection. Alam kong aging na ang team nila kaya hindi na nila kaya sa dikdikang laban," said Jimenez.
"Ang gumawa pa nga sa kanila yung mga veterans," he added, referring to Adam Aidam, Antonio Torres, and team captain Edgardo Rusit, who combined for 25 points for Cavite.
PLDT Air Force now shares the top spot with Cignal at 1-0, while Cavite is with Bench-Systema at the bottom of the standings (0-1).