Spikers’ Turf: Navy leans on Umandal explosion to keep Army winless
MANILA, Philippines — Jau Umandal erupted with 29 points as PGJC-Navy overcame a slow start to turn back Army-Katinko, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-18, and regain its winning ways in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference on Thursday at Paco Arena.
After dropping the opening set and losing Joeven Dela Vega to a left ankle sprain in the second set, Umandal rose to the occasion and unloaded 26 kills, two aces, and a block while delivering 10 excellent receptions and seven digs to send the Troopers to their third straight defeat after their two-hour battle.
Navy Setter EJ Casana dished out 33 excellent sets, Ronniel Rosales and Peter Quiel chipped in 10 points each, while Omar Lioc and Christian Marcelino added nine markers each to step up in Dela Vega’s absence and Greg Dolor playing only in the first set to struggled with three points.
Sealions coach Cecil Cruzada admitted his wards haven’t moved on from their five-set meltdown to National University-Sta. Elena last Tuesday, starting off lethargic against their fellow military team.
“We were still adjusting in the first set. My players are still affected by our loss to NU. It’s still fresh and they felt the pressure in the first set. But I asked them to relax and not to pressure themselves because I know that they can win this game from what I saw from our training,” Cruzada said in Filipino.
Navy improved to 2-1, joining VNS-One Alicia at the third seed before it takes on unbeaten leader Cignal (3-0) on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Army remained winless in three games tied with Ateneo-Fudgee Barr despite limiting their errors to 19 while forcing 27 from Navy. But Umandal and Co. nailed 62 kills against the Troopers’ 47 attacks.
Jaylo Labide and PJ Rojas lifted the Troopers with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Madz Gampong had nine points.
Army and Ateneo clash for their first win on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.