Air Force went to Maika Ortiz in the fifth set as it turned back PLDT Home Telpad, 25-21, 22-25, 17-25, 28-26, 15-8, to assure itself of at least a playoff for the last semifinal berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City on Sunday.
Ortiz took over in the decider with powerful smashes and finished with a team-high 19 hits, helping seal the Raiders their seventh win against four defeats to bolster their semifinals drive.
Judy Caballejo, Joy Cases and Jocie Tapic provided the needed back-up as they pumped in 16, 13 and 11 hits, respectively, for the Raiders, who were outplayed in all but one of the scoring and non-scoring skills but still won the match.
Air Force coach Clarence Esteban later said the key was letting the players decide for themselves during the game.
“I just told them that even if we play bad as long as we win, it’s okay. But of course, it’s nice to win games by playing well,” said Esteban.
PLDT actually finished ahead in spikes, ramming in 64 attacks against Air Force’s 54, doubling its rivals aces with six, making 17 more digs than Air Force’s 40 and producing 65 excellent sets as against the Raiders’ 51.