Iloilo blanks Air Force in Spikers’ Turf debut
MANILA, Philippines — D’Navigators Iloilo made a rousing 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference debut as the new team, sweeping a veteran Air Force squad, 25-21, 25-23, 25-19, behind the efforts of Jerome Cordez and Jade Disquitado on Wednesday at Paco Arena.
Cordez introduced himself to the men’s club league as he led the balanced attack of Iloilo with 15 points, nailing 14 of his 30 spike attempts and scoring a block kill.
Disquitado, who played for Sta. Rosa last season, made an immediate impact for his new club as he displayed an efficient game with a 14-of-28 attacking clip on top of seven excellent receptions and six digs to sweep the Jet Spikers in one hour and 25 minutes.
Besides the hard-hitting pair of Cordez and Disquitado, middle blocker Mfena Gwaza anchored the net defense of D’Navigators with a team-high four blocks, six spikes, and an ace to finish with 11 points in their conference debut.
“I reminded my players that they may be the veterans of this league but we are the younger team. We got fresher legs and we have the advantage when it comes to conditioning,” said Iloilo coach John Kenneth Panes in Filipino.
“I credit my players for playing well and listening to us, coaches. It’s good to win our first game here. But we still have adjustments to make for our next game,” he added.
D’Navigators joined opening day winners Imus and Army in taking the early lead of the Open Conference.
Former Spikers’ Turf MVP Ranran Abdilla led Air Force with a game-high 18 points but he had a 17-of-40 spiking clip in his return to indoor action after spending the past two years as a full-time beach volleyball player.
Edwin Tolentino had 10 points, as setter Jessie Lopez only had seven excellent sets with the Jet Spikers losing their first Spikers’ Turf match in their return from a three-year hiatus.
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