Jet Spikers crush Dolphins, stay in V-L hunt

Air Force’s Dell Palomata (13) soars over her rivals in the Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Air Force’s Dell Palomata (13) soars over her rivals in the Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Air Force checked its two-game slide with a methodical 25-11, 25-19, 25-8 victory over a hapless Coast Guard side on Wednesday to keep its slim semifinals hopes alive in the Shakeys’ V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

The Jet Spikers imposed their will on the net while pouncing on the Lady Dolphins poor reception and floor defense to post the lopsided 60-minute win in a big rebound from their four-set and shutout losses to the Laoag Power Smashers and BaliPure Water Defenders, respectively, last week.

Despite the victory, Air Force, runner-up to Pocari Sweat in the Open Conference early this year, remained tied for sixth with UP at 2-3 and will need to sweep its last two games against UP and Customs and hope that three from Pocari, BaliPure, Laoag and UP won’t go over four wins to force a playoff for the last semis seat in the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.

The Lady Dolphins actually put up a gutsy stand in the second set and kept the game close but a series of mishits enabled the Jet Spikers to pull away again in the end.

It was cruise control in the third with Air Force posting a 16-6 lead before finishing off their rivals with hits on set and combination plays, tip-ins and on their rivals’ errors.

“Unlike in our losses, we played as a team today (yesterday),” said Dell Palomata, who finished with seven attack points for an eight-point total and clinched the best player of the game honors. “We’ll just have to play with more confidence and improve on our communication in our last two games.”

Mary Ann Pantino topscored for Air Force with 10 hits while Jennifer Manzano and Judy Ann Caballejo added six points apiece and Joy Cases, Iari Yongco and Mae Antipuesto chipped in five hits each.

Air Force unloaded 44 kills against Coast Guard’s measly 14-attack effort with the Jet Spikers also producing seven aces and four blocks to dominate the Lady Dolphins in tournament backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter.

Grenlen Malapit had five points while Sam Dawson and Hazel Mea made four and three hits, respectively, for the ousted Coast Guard, which fell to 0-5.

Earlier, Air Force rolled to its third straight victory, beating Army, 25-22, 27-25, 25-17, to close in on the first semifinal berth in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Third Conference, also at Philsports.

Ten of coach Rhovyl Verayo’s men scored with Mark Alfafara leading the attack wtih 14 points and Bryan Bagunas adding 11 markers.

Top setter Jessie Lopez had another field day distributing the balls to the Air Force hitters with Bagunas, Nino Jerus, Ruben Inaudito and Edwin Tolentino combining with Alfafara to finish off the Troopers in three.

In contrast, only seven contributed to Army’s total production with Benjaylo Labide topscoring with 13 hits and Patrick John Rojas adding 11 markers.

Army dropped to fourth at 1-1 behind defending champion Cignal TV and Instituto Estetico Manila, which tote identical 2-1 cards each.

Champion Supra and ousted 100 Plus have 1-2 and 0-4 slates, respectively.

The top four teams after the single round elims will advance to the semis.


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