Dell Palomata, Judy Caballejo lead way as Air Force downs shorthanded Bali Pure in four sets
Joy Cases of Air Force gets the ball past Bali Pure's Janine Marciano.

NEW recruit Dell Palomata showed the way as Air Force edged Bali Pure, 23-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-16, on Monday in the Shakey's V-League Season 13 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan.

Palomata scored 16 points, Judy Ann Caballejo added 13, and May Ann Pantino and Jocemer Tapic contributed 10 markers apiece as the Jet Spikers completed the win in one hour and 41 minutes.

It was a huge win for the Jet Spikers coached by Jasper Jimenez after the departure of Maika Ortiz and Rhea Dimaculangan, who are now in the Philippine Super Liga.

“Nag-double time talaga kami kasi big star ’yung nawala sa amin, star ’yun sina Rhea at Maika, national team pa ’yung dalawang ’yun kaya hindi talaga pwedeng bumalik kami ng ano, may expectation kasis a amin eh,” he said.

“Malaking impact na nawala sina Maika at Rhea so nagstep up si Wendy Semana and mabuti na nakakuha kami ng Dell Palomata galing sa La Salle Bacolod, dumating siya last April,” he added.

Amy Ahomiro led bali Pure with 13 points, while Ella de Jesus and Dzi Gervacio added 12 markers each, but the Water Defenders struggled without Alyssa Valdez and Grethcel Soltones, who are playing volleyball exhibition matches in Europe.

Still it was not an easy win for Air Force.

“More practice pa although organized na ng konti. Nangyayari talaga ‘yan sa game na struggle. First time namin maglaro ngayon,” said Jimenez.

“’Yung first set namin akala nila hanggang doon lang, na-overwhelm kaagad sila kaya nawalan kami ng receive, nawalan kami ng depensa although nakarecover naman kami ng third set at fourth set, nakapag-adjust kami.”

“Malaking ano sa amin kasi wala ‘yung dalawang star nila naging advantage sa amin,” said Jimenez. “Pero papasok pa rin naman sila, papasok at papasok sila kasi contender sila.”

“Kasi sila ang inaantay talaga ng Shakey’s V-League isa sila sa malakas, although lahat naman ng teams competitive, kasi andoon ‘yung mga stars eh kaya isa sa inaabangan,” he added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada