Spikers’ Turf: Iloilo extends unbeaten run, beats Army
MANILA, Philippines — D’ Navigators Iloilo continued to make waves in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, averting a slow start before taking down the Army Troopers, 17-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-18, to stay unbeaten in four games on Sunday at Paco Arena.
Inspired by his first Philippine men’s volleyball training pool call-up, Jade Disquitado shone anew as he nailed 18 kills for 19 points to keep the under-the-radar Iloilo team on top of the 11-team field.
Team captain Jerome Cordez also sustained his fine play with 14 points, all coming from attacks. Rash Nursiddik chipped in 11 points, while Neil De Pedro added nine markers and 14 excellent receptions with setter John Michael Apolinario distributing the goods with 27 excellent sets.
D’ Navigators started out flat losing the first set to the Troopers. Coach John Kenneth Panes needed to light the fire under his young team.
“I told them they were lacking in their work. You have to work harder and do your part. We cannot play like this because we will lose,” said Panes in Filipino. “Good thing, they listened.”
Iloilo got its act together in the second set and edged Army in a tight third set encounter, 24-all, as Cordez and middle blocker Nas Gwaza delivered the clutch attacks to take a 2-1 match advantage.
Disquitado joined hands with Cordez and Nursiddik to take full control of the fourth and seal their fourth win before going to a two-week break as Disquitado will join the national pool’s 10-day training camp in Taiwan.
Despite pulling off a surprise in the league with a 4-0 start, Panes refused to be contented as they need to keep working even though they will have a long break before facing Navy on March 1.
“Our job is not done yet. We still have more room for improvement. We cannot be complacent. We have to work harder for our upcoming games,” he said.
The Troopers slid to a 2-2 record after giving up 32 errors.
Kevin Liberato lifted Army with 19 points off 16 attacks and three blocks. Jaylo Labide had 13 points, while Mark Enciso and Patrick Rojas added 10 markers each