MANILA, Philippines – Air Force overcame the Power Smashers' spirited comeback and hacked out a five-set victory to assure itself of at least a playoff for a semifinals berth in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference on Sunday night.
After claiming the first two sets, the Lady Jet Spikers found themselves pushed to the limit before eventually claiming a 25-22, 26-24, 18-25, 17-25, 15-13 win at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Jet Spikers simply proved to be the steadier team in the back-and-forth fifth set to pull off the victory in an hour and 52-minutes, hiking their record to 4-1.
The loss also meant that the Power Smashers are now out of the running for a semis spot with their 1-5 win-loss record.
For a while, however, it appeared as though the Power Smashers were poised to avert outright elimination as they battled back from a two-set deficit with emphatic wins in the third and fourth frames.
The young Power Smashers even took a 9-7 lead in Set 5, but succumbed to pressure in the end, while the Lady Jet Spikers leaned on their experience in the end game. The Power Smashers' youth was evident in the final rally of the match, with Jovelyn Prado softly tapping in an attempt that was emphatically rejected by Jocemer Tapic.
Mary Ann Pantino fired 14 hits, Joy Cases and Iari Yongco each scored 12 points, while Tapic finished with 10 markers for Air Force.
The Lady Jet Spikers had fewer attacks, 53-58, but had more blocks, 10-8, and had one ace more than their foes.
Prado scored 22 points, while Regine Arocha, Andrea Marzan, Dimdim Pacres and Ann Esguerra combined for 43 points for the Power Smashers.
Earlier, Army subdued Instituto Estetico Manila, 25-23, 24-26, 25-21, 21-25, 15-11, and revived its semifinal bid in the men's division of the Open Conference.
The Troopers improved to 2-3 and tied the idle Sta. Elena side at third while dropping the IEM Volley Masters to fifth with a 2-4 mark heading to the last three elimination playdates.
Gamboa Coffee, on the other hand, held off Café Lupe in a duel of winless teams, pulling off a 25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 27-25 victory in the other match.
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