All-Filipino Air Force downs import-bannered Pocari Sweat in five-set thriller
Joy Cases gets the ball past the long hands of Pocari's blockers. Dante Peralta

IMPORTLESS Philippine Air Force turned back import-powered Pocari Sweat, 25-20, 22-25, 25-7, 22-25, 15-12, in the Shakey's V-League Reinforced Conference at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City on Wednesday.

Jocemer Tapic and May Ann Pantino finished with 17 points for Air Force, while Judy Ann Caballejo and Joy Cases added 14 and 13 markers apiece. 

“Lahat naman nagtrabaho although hindi nga lang dire-diretso, at least nandoon ‘yung intensity nila para manalo,” said Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez. 

Jimenez added that the team was driven to win against the Lady Warriors backed by American imports Andrea Kacsits and Breanna Mackie.

“Malaking challenge talaga sa amin ‘yun kasi wala kaming import. Talagang doble-kayod kami,” he said. 

The Jet Spikers trailed, 7-10, after a 5-0 spurt of the Lady Warriors capped by a Michele Gumabao service. But Air Force toughened up on defense and tied the game, 11-11, before Joy Cases scored on a kill, 12-11, to snatch the lead.

Back-to-back errors by Pocari Sweat helped Air Force reach match point, 14-11, before Wendy Semana and Lady Warriors import Andrea Kacsits traded service errors to end the thrilling match.

The Jet Spikers, who came from a four-set loss to University of Santo Tomas, evened its record (1-1).

Air Force avenged its loss to Pocari Sweat in the Open Conference Finals.

Mackie debuted with 17 points for the Lady Warriors, while Kacsits and Michele Gumabao added 11 markers apiece but failed to prevent Pocari Sweat from losing its opening match.

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