MANILA, Philippines – Dell Palomata stepped up in the decider as the Air Force outlasted Bali Pure to hack out a 23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 18-25, 15-11 victory and move to joint second in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan on Sunday.
It was Air Force’s second straight win, allowing them to improve their record to 3-1 and tying idle Bali Pure for second place behind Creamline (4-0).
Palomata, a 6-foot-3 recruit from De La Salle University-Bacolod, came off the bench and unloaded a string of powerful attacks in the fifth set, including the quick kill that finished off the Water Defenders.
Palomata entered the match late in the second set for starter Mae Antipuesto, and helped the Lady Jet Spikers string back-to-back set wins after blowing a four-point lead and yielding the opening frame. She anchored Air Force’s defense at the net with a game-high four blocks as well.
“She made a big impact for us in both our attacks and defense, and I’m happy she delivered,” Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez said of Palomata, who missed the Reinforced Conference to pursue basic military training in Fernando Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas.
Jocemar Tapic had 17 points and later took the game’s top honors while Iari Yongco and Mary Ann Pantino added 16 and 12 hits, respectively.
Bali Pure, which drew 17 points each from Grethcel Soltones, Aiko Urdas, and Jerilli Malabanan, dropped to fourth place with a 2-2 win-loss record.
The Jet Spikers bounced back from a lopsided defeat in the fourth by surging to a 9-4 lead in the decider with Tapic scoring on back-to-back hits to give Air Force a seven-point cushion.
But the Water Defenders fought back to close in at 11-14 before Palomata soared at center for that quick attack that slammed through BaliPure’s back row defender’s arms and went out.
Earlier, Cignal HD dumped Gamboa Coffee Mix, 25-11, 25-15, 25-18, to match newcomer Mega Builders’ hot 4-0 start in the men’s side of the tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics.
Sta. Elena, on the other hand, pounced on a skidding Army side, carving out a 25-15, 22-25, 25-21, 25-23 victory to even its card at 2-2.
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