MANILA, Philippines – The Imus Spikers kicked off the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference in style with a four-set win over the Santa Rosa City Lions, 25-22, 26-28, 31-29, 25-16, at the Paco Arena on Sunday, January 22.
Veteran national team setter Ish Polvorosa steered his team to victory with 30 excellent sets and 2 points. Team captain Louie Ramirez topscored with a 17-point finish on 15 attacks and 2 blocks while Kim Malabunga scored 14 in the win that featured two extended sets before a fourth-frame blowout.
Four Santa Rosa players scored in double figures in the loss, led by Kevin Montemayor’s 16 off the bench on 13 attacks, 2 aces, and 1 block while Gabriel Jeih Magsino and Exequiel Harvey Quezada scored 13 apiece.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Army Troopers eked out a five-set comeback against the Philippine Navy Sealions, 25-23, 19-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-12, to cap off the day’s double-header.
Patrick John Rojas led the thrilling finish with 19 points on 18 attacks, while Benjaylo Labide added 17 points. Kevin Liberato scored 16 hiked by a game-high 4 blocks as the Troopers rallied from a 19-21 fourth-set deficit with a 6-1 spurt to force the deciding fifth frame.
Christian Marcelino paced the heartbreaking loss with 17 points as Greg Dolor and Marvin Villanueva scored 15 apiece.
The Army will look to build on its hard-earned win as it takes on the Cotabato Spikers next on Wednesday, February 1, 4 pm. The Navy, meanwhile, will have to wait until Friday, February 3, 4 pm to vent its ire on Santa Rosa City.
Imus will take a one-week break before facing the Philippine Air Force on Sunday, January 29, 4 pm, as Santa Rosa prepares for an uphill climb on Friday, January 27, 4 pm, against the contending Cignal HD Spikers. – Rappler.com