MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Army and Philippine Navy finished their campaigns in the 2019 Spikers' Turf Reinforced Conference on a high note.
After being ousted from the Final 4 race, PJ Rojas and the rest of the Troopers still gave their campaign a fitting end as they survived the Volleyball Never Stops Volleyball Club (VNS VC) Griffins in a five-set nail-biter, 25-21, 22-25, 24-26, 25-23, 21-19, at the Paco Arena, Sunday.
Rojas fired 19 points, 17 of which came from attacks, while Michael Reyes and Antonio Torres delivered 16 and 15 points, respectively, to secure Army a 6-5 finish.
"Makikita naman sa nilalaro namin, papasok kami sa momentum, tapos pagdating sa service area puputulin nila, parang sakit na namin na every game mangyayari yung ganun. 'Yun [sana] 'yung gusto kong mawala sa amin," said Army head coach Rico De Guzman.
Leading by only a point, 15-14, Rojas sparked a 3-0 run in the third set to break away from the Griffins, 18-14. Both teams exchanged points from there, but an off the block hit from Michael Reyes and a kill from Rojas tied the game at 2-2.
In a tight fifth set, Jeremy Merat tied the game at 19-all, to keep VNS alive. However, a drop from Karl Ramirez followed by an off-the-block attack from Jaidal Abdulmajid clinched the victory for the troopers.
French hitter Merat scored 19 points for the Griffins, while Pemmy Bagalay added 15.
Playing in a no-bearing game, the Philippine Navy Sea Lions dismantled AFC Olympic rivals Philippine Coast Guard Dolphins in four sets, 25-16, 25-19, 18-25, 25-21, in the first game of the day.
"'Yung game na 'yan, talagang nakaprepare kami diyan kasi matagal din kaming walang game, napaghandaan namin 'yan. Kumbaga, target talaga namin na tatalunin namin sila nang maganda," said Navy head coach Edgardo Rusit.
Greg Dolor scored a team-high 16 points built on 10 attacks, four aces, and two blocks while Dela Vega and Kurl Rosete added 14 points apiece for Navy who finished the tournament with a 5-6 standing.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard, who finished its campaign winless, was led by Esmail Kasim with 16 markers.
Earlier in the day, the IEM Phoenix Volley Masters outlasted Easytrip-Raimol in a four-set affair, 25-20, 21-25,25-20, 28-26.
Razzel Palisoc fired 12 points while Joven Camagnakan chipped in 10 markers for the Volley Masters who won their fourth game in 11 outings.
"Thankful pa din [ako] kasi maganda 'yung pinakita ng mga bata ngayon mula nung last game hanggang ngayon, nakuha namin kaya ayon, masaya," said IEM head coach Pathie Jamiri.
Red Christensen finished with a game-high 16 points coming from 13 attacks, two blocks, and an ace. Yeshua Manliclic and Mardy Galang contributed 11 points each.
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