Spikers Turf: Young Sta. Rosa stuns Army in five sets
MANILA, Philippines — The youthful Sta. Rosa pulled the rug from under the veteran Army side, 27-25, 23-25, 21-25, 26-24, 15-8, to book its second straight win in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference on Friday at Paco Arena.
The City Lions crawled their way back from a 1-2 match deficit and 22-23 disadvantage in the fourth as Kevin Montemayor’s cross-court kill and Gab Magsino’s clutch block on Jaylo Labide put themselves at set point, 24-23, before Mark Enciso forced a deuce.
Axel Van Book converted a combination play to bring back Sta. Rosa at match point, 25-24, followed by Yoyong Mendoza’s attack that initially called as out but coach Edu Lirio’s video challenge proved the ball hit down the line to force a decider.
Book and Montemayor gave Sta. Rosa a blazing 7-2 start in the fifth set. Army made some timely hits but their young opponents were in full control as Anrie Bakil drilled a running attack to reach match point, 14-7, and nailed the match-clinching quick attack.
“These young players played their hearts out. They worked together even the bench players lift up their morale by cheering them,” said Lirio as Sta. Rosa improved to a 2-4 record.
“These five-setters build their maturity. It will be a big help for them to think clearly in making decisions when it comes to the crucial part of their future games,” he added.
Mendoza led the City Lions’ collective effort with 20 points, 11 excellent receptions, and eight digs, while Book chimed in with 15 points and 16 receptions.
Setter Jerico Adajar made 27 excellent sets, as Bakil and Magsino had 13 points each, while Montemayor added 11 markers.
Armu slid to 2-3 with PJ Rojas leading the way with 20 points and a combined 43-point output from Kevin Liberato, Enciso, and Labide.