NEEDING a bounce back win to keep its slim semifinals hopes alive, Philippine Air Force scored a methodical 25-11, 25-19, 25-8 victory over a lowly Coast Guard side to check a two-game slump yesterday in the Shakeys’ V-League Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena.
“Unlike in our losses, we played as a team today (yesterday),” said Dell Palomata, the Lady Jet Spikers middle hitter who finished with seven attack points for an eight-point total.
Rebounding from its four-set and shutout losses to Laoag and BaliPure, respectively, last week, Air Force improved to 2-3 in a tie with idle University of the Philippines.
Playing with a sense of urgency, the Lady Jet Spikers imposed their will on the net while pouncing on the Lady Dolphins poor reception and floor defense to post the lopsided 60-minute win.
“We’ll just have to play with more confidence and improve on our communication in our last two games,” said Palomata.
To stay alive, the Lady Jet Spikers will need to sweep its last two games against UP and Bureau of Customs and hope that three from Pocari Sweat, BaliPure, Laoag and UP won’t go over four wins to force a playoff for the last semis seat.
Coast Guard actually put up a gutsy stand in the second set and kept the game close but a series of mishits enabled Air Force to pull away again in the end.
It was cruise control in the third with the Lady Jet Spikers posting a 16-6 lead before finishing off their rivals with hits on set and combination plays, tip-ins and on their rivals’ errors.
Mary Ann Pantino topscored for Air Force with 10 hits while Jennifer Manzano and Judy Ann Caballejo added six points apiece and Joy Cases, Iari Yongco and Angel Antipuesto chipped in five hits each.
Grenlen Malapit had five points while Sam Dawson and Hazel Mea made four and three hits, respectively, for the 0-5 Lady Dolphins.
Earlier, Air Force rolled to its third straight victory, beating Army, 25-22, 27-25, 25-17, to close in on the first semifinal berth in the Spikers’ Turf Third Conference.
Ten of coach Rhovyl Verayo’s men scored with Mark Alfafara leading the attack wtih 14 points and Bryan Bagunas adding 11 markers.