ARMY spoiled Alyssa Valdez’s debut as it nipped Smart in a marathon five-setter, 25-22, 25-19, 22-25, 20-25, 15-13, last night to cement its hold of the No. 2 spot in the Shakey’s V League Season 10 Open Conference at Filoil Flying V Arena.
Jovelyn Gonzaga fired 22 hits while Mary Jean Balse and Michelle Carolino contributed 13 and 10, respectively, as the Army Women notched their fifth victory in six games.
Not even the entry of the Ateneo ace spiker Valdez in the lineup can prevent the Net Spikers from dropping to a 4-3 record, although she acquitted herself well with 28 points.
Kesinee Lithawat finished with 22 points for the Net Spikers, who were hobbled by 36 errors.
Smart’s loss enabled Philippine Air Force to grab solo third spot after walloping Philippine National Police, 25-16, 25-11, 25-21, to also nail its place in the quarterfinals.
Air Force joined Cagayan Valley (7-0), Philippine Army (5-1) and Smart (4-3) in the next round, which has a carryover format.
It was Air Force’s fourth straight victory, after opening their campaign with back-to-back losses.
Joy Cases stood at the forefront of the Air Women’s attack with 17 spikes from her 18-point total, while Judy Caballejo and Maika Ortiz combined for 21 hits. Rhea Dimaculangan proved efficient with 27 excellent sets for Air Force.
“The team is playing well and the camaraderie is showing on the court,” said Air Force coach Clarence Esteban. “The communication is improving.”
Cases was relentless in the second set as she carried the Air Women to a comfortable 15-4 lead before the Lady Patrolers came within 18-20 on Patcharee Sangmuang’s powerful kill.
Ortiz and Caballejo closed out the match with a couple of kills.
The defeat was the fifth successive for the PNP tossers.