Air Force bucked an opening set struggle and imposed its will in the next two as it completed a straight-set 27-25, 25-19, 25-17 victory over University of the Philippines to regain a share of the lead with idle Pocari Sweat in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
The Jet Spikers went to their hot-spiking foursome of Jocemer Tapic, Judy Ann Caballejo, Dell Palomata and Joy Cases to overcome the Lady Maroons’ fiery start and superb blocking as they scored a follow-up to their 25-15, 25-19, 25-18 romp over the Baguio Summer Spikers over the weekend.
It was Air Force’s third straight win, including a four-setter over an undermanned BaliPure last week, tying Pocari Sweat in the lead while bolstering its semifinal chances in the season-opening conference of the country’s premier women’s league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Tapic fired 15 hits, Caballejo added 14 markers and Palomata and Cases combined for 18 points as the Jet Spikers finished with 41 attacks points against their rivals’ 25 while ramming in eight aces against UP’s three.
The Lady Maroons produced seven blocks, the bulk they made in the opening frame which they controlled majority of the way before the Jet Spikers regrouped and forced a 24-all count before winning three of the last four points, including a lucky serve that hit the net and a Cases kill, to steal the set.
The Jet Spikers kept that charge in the next two sets as the Lady Maroons, who moved two points from wrapping up the opening set, 23-19, failed to recover from their late meltdown, enabling the former to complete their 74-minute victory in the matched aired live over ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23.
“I have to commend my players for showing composure in the first set. They just didn’t give up,” said Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez.
Katherine Bersola and Isabel Molde rammed in seven hits apiece while Diana Carlos finished with six points for UP, which dropped to 0-2 in a tie with Baguio in the bottom of the eight-team field in the league backed by Mikasa and Accel.