MANILA, Philippines - PLDT Home Telpad rebounded strong from an embarrassing setback the last time out, dominating National U in the opening set before cruising to a 25-13, 25-20, 25-19 victory as it resumed its semifinal drive in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
Air Force pounced on the absence of injured Rachel Ann Daquis’ absence and stunned Army with big bounce-back games after the first set to carve out a 20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-22 win later in the day.
The victory didn’t only firm up the Raiders hold of the No. 4 seat but it also put them in the hunt for the top spot with a 6-3 card as the Lady Troopers fell from joint first to solo third at 6-2.
Air Force’s win also gave idle defending champion Cagayan Valley the solo lead at 6-1 with PLDT Home Telpad at No. 2 with a 7-2 slate in the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s and backed by Mikasa and Accel.
Joy Cases blasted the Lady Troopers with 19 kills and finished with 20 hits while Judy Caballejo had 18, Maika Ortiz added 14 and May Ann Pantino and Jocie Tapic combined for 14 hits for the Raiders, who went 2-0 in the quarters after thumping the NU Lady Bulldogs in four last Sunday.
Even without Daquis, the fancied Army side drew double-digit outputs from four players but just couldn’t neutralize the Raiders sustained fightback from the second set on. Jovelyn Gonzalez made 14 hits, setter Tina Salak stepped up to fire 13 points and Joanne Bunag and Nene Bautista had 12 and 10 markers, respectively.
Earlier, the Turbo Boosters limited the Jaja Santiago-led Lady Bulldogs to just 13 points in the first frame then frustrated their rivals with strong finishes in the last two to clinch the win and atone for their similar shutout setback to the back-to-the-wall Ateneo side that had coach Roger Gorayeb fuming last Sunday.
Meanwhile, the PLDT-NU match will be shown on GMA News TV Channel starting at 1 p.m. today with the Army-Air Force duel to be telecast tomorrow, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
Laurence Ann Latigay dished out her best game in a long, long while, blasting 11 kills, ramming in four aces and coming away with two blocks for a 17-hit effort. Former MVP Suzanne Roces cancelled out Santiago’s 15-point performance with her own 15-hit game while Angela Benting delivered 10 points for the league’s newcomers.
The loss was NU’s sixth against only three wins, dampening the Lady Bulldogs’ chances for the last semifinal berth in the league where it all started.
Myla Pablo backed up Santiago with 12 hits but only Rizza Mandapat and Desiree Dadang emerged as the only two others scorers for NU with eight and two points, respectively.
With Roces and Latigay scoring heavily on Rubie de Leon’s feeds, the rest took care of reception and kept the ball alive with their superb digs, neutralizing a number of NU’s attacks. The Turbo Boosters, who wound up with 42 kills, 10 more than NU, also lorded it over the net with eight blocks as against NU’s 3 and came away with six aces in the 66-minute encounter.