MANILA, Philippines—Nico Almendras and Edward Camposano stood their ground against the country's best as the duo steered the Santa Elena Ball Hammers to an upset victory over the Rebisco-Philippines, 25-23, 27-25, 21-25, 25-18 in the 2019 Spikers' Turf Reinforced Conference at Paco Arena, Thursday.
Almendras scored 18 points on 14 kills, 3 blocks and an ace, while Camposano added 14 points as Santa Elena improved to 5-3 in the tournament, good for fifth place.
"Siguro, masama lang 'yung laro ng RP," said Ball Hammers assistant coach Dong Dela Cruz, who went up against his head coach in both Santa Elena and Rebisco in Dante Alinsunurin.
"Wala silang receive, kitang kita naman. Kami naman nothing to lose [pero] at least nakita namin kung anong potential meron 'yung team namin ngayon."
With the Ball Hammers taking the first 2 sets, Bryan Bagunas fought back and scored from the back to give the Nationals a two-point advantage, 21-19, in the third set. Several errors from Santa Elena's side and a drop from Ranran Abdilla sent the game to a fourth set.
Tied at 7 in the fourth set, Santa Elena unleashed a 9-2 run behind Almendras and Camposano to take a commanding 16-9 lead.
Krisvan Ponti blocked an airborne Kim Malabunga while Berhashidin Daymil dealt Rebisco the fatal blow.
Bagunas, who played for Air Force in the first game, scored 18 points while team captain John Vic De Guzman added 12 for Rebisco (6-2), which slid to the third spot.
Cignal's Marck Espejo, Peter Torres (back-to-back games), and Rex Intal (back spasms) missed the contest.
Earlier in the day, the Go for Gold Philippine Air Force Jet Spikers notched their fourth consecutive victory after disposing of the IEM Phoenix Volley Masters in four sets 25-21, 25-16, 23-25, 25-19 in the opening game of the day.
Bagunas delivered 12 points, which included 11 attacks in his second game back for Air Force while Madz Gampong and Ranran Abdilla chipped in 9 each for the Jet Spikers (6-1), who remained at third spot.
In the second game, JP Bugaoan stepped up as the Cignal HD Spikers swept the cellar-dwelling Easytrip-Raimol in straight sets, 25-17, 25-12, 25-17, to extend their winning streak to seven games.
Bugaoan led Cignal's attack with 8 points while Marck Espejo, Jude Garcia, and Wendel Miguel had 6 points apiece to push Cignal (7-0) to retain its solo lead.
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