MANILA, Philippines – The Vanguard Volley Hitters stormed through their 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference debut with a huge five-set win over the defending champion NU-Archipelago Builders, 25-18, 18-25, 26-24, 13-25, 15-10, at the Paco Arena on Wednesday, January 25.
Razzel Palisoc led the thrilling finish with 20 points off 18 attacks, 1 block, and 1 ace, while Vince Abrot and Jovs Camaganakan scored 15 and 13, respectively.
Abrot scored 5 of his 15 in the deciding set that Vanguard ultimately took after a 12-3 start despite gifting a staggering 27 service errors overall.
Ron Villegas steered the offense with 16 excellent sets as Rec-rec Alfaro anchored the defense with 20 excellent digs and 11 excellent receptions.
Mac Bandola paced the sorry loss with 14 points, while Leo Ordiales scored 11 with a game-high-tying 4 blocks – same as Rwenzmel Taguibolos, who in turn finished with 9 points.
In contrast, the first game of the double-header was just a quick one-hour, 17-minute affair as D’ Navigators-Iloilo blanked the Philippine Air Force Jet Spikers, 25-21, 25-23, 25-19, for a rousing start to their conference run.
Three players scored in double figures in the win. Captain Jerome Cordez led the way with 15 points while Jade Disquitado scored 14, all off attacks, as Mfena Gwaza commanded the net defense with 11 points, buoyed by a game-high 4 blocks.
Ranran Abdilla led all scorers in the losing effort with 18 points off 17 attacks and an ace, while Edwin Tolentino scored 10, scattering 7 attacks, 2 blocks, and an ace.
Iloilo aims to nab another big fish as it faces NU next on Sunday, January 29, 6 pm, while the Air Force shoots for a bounce-back win that same day at 4 pm against the Imus Spikers.
Vanguard, meanwhile, will take a one-week break before its next game on Wednesday, February 1, 6 pm, against VNS Volleyball. – Rappler.com