Air Force braces for a big Cignal comeback but remains confident just the same as it guns for a repeat and a sweep of the Spikers’ Turf Season 1-Reinforced Conference crown at The Arena in San Juan City today (Wednesday).
The Airmen imposed their will and power and pounded out a 25-15, 19-25, 25-19, 25-19 victory over the HD Spikers last Saturday and vowed to finish off their rivals in their best-of-three series.
“We’re going for the win but we expect them (HD Spikers) to make some adjustments,” said Air Force coach Rhovyl Verayo. “But we’re ready.”
Gametime is at 3 p.m. with Game Three, if necessary, to be played on Dec. 5, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
Air Force leaned on a tight eight-man rotation anchored on the power-hitting Jeffry Malabanan, who unloaded a team-high 17 hits in gaining the headstart in their playoff tipped to go down-to-the-wire.
Rodolfo Labrador, Reyson Fuentes, Ruben Inaudito and Edwin Tolentino backed up Malabanan with a combined 41-point effort that helped propel the Airmen to the four-set win.
The top seeded team also relied on its solid blocking to stymie the HD Spikers’ attacks with Fuentes and Labrador combining for eight of their 11 blocks against just four by Cignal.
The Airmen also swooped down on the HD Spikers’ miscues (36 errors) while limiting theirs to 24.
“Those basically helped us in the first game–our blocking and less errors,” said Verayo.
But Cignal is expected to come out strong with ace hitters Edmar Bonono and Lorenzo Capate, Jr. confident of drawing solid backup this time as the HD Spikers try to force a sudden death and stay in the hunt for the crown of the pioneering men’s volley league presented by PLDT Home Ultera and backed by Mikasa.
Home Ultera likewise goes for the clincher as it goes for a repeat over Navy in their own series for third starting at 1 p.m.
The Ultra Fast Hitters also pulled off a four-setter against the Sailors, 25-14, 25-22, 23-25, 25-19, in the opener of their series.
Mark Gil Alfafara led Ultera with 20 hits, including 17 on attack points, while Kheeno Franco, Henry James Peca-A and Jayson Ramos contributed 17, 12 and 10 markers, respectively.
Razzel Palisoc and Nur Amin Madsairi, meanwhile, paced the Sailors with 16 and 12 points, respectively, but would need to draw solid support from the rest to foil Home Ultera’s sweep bid.
1 p.m. – Navy vs Home Ultera (for third)
3 p.m. – Cignal vs Air Force (for crown)