Air Force wins in five to stall PLDT's drive to V-League semifinals
Maika Ortiz of the Air Force gets the ball past Ryza Devanadera of PLDT Home. Dante Peralta

PHILIPPINE Air Force emerged on top after a five-set showdown, 25-21, 22, 25, 17-25, 28-26, 15-8, to deny PLDT Home Telpad an early entry to the semifinals of the Shakey's V-League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Sunday.

PLDT was at match point in the fourth, 25-24, but Air Force came up with a 4-2 spurt to force a deciding set.

Maika Ortiz came up with 19 points and Judy Ann Caballejo had 16, Joy Cases scored 13 and Jocemer Tapic added 11 as the Air Women improved their win-loss record to 5-4.

Sue Roces fired 28 points and Gretchel Soltones had 21 for PLDT, which entered the match looking to book a spot in the round of four but instead slipped to 5-3.

Air Force coach Clarence Esteban wasn’t happy that his wards exerted just enough effort to win, stressing that they could have put the game away early and didn’t have to play two hours and 19 minutes.

“Hinayaan ko na lang silang maglaro, kasi kahit anong sabihin ko 'di nila ina-absorb. Best results naman kasi nanalo,” he said.

“Pero sabi ko nga sa kanila, pangit ang laro nanalo, what more pa kung maganda ang laro natin eh 'di mas madaling manalo,” he added.

Ortiz, Caballejo and Cases worked together for a 7-0 run in the fifth that put Air Force ahead, 8-2, en route to win.

 "Sa fifth set binalik ko na 'yung first six ko, kasi kahit sino na sinubukan ko walang gumagana, siguro na-realize nila na kailangan nila (first six) gumawa," siad Esteban.

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