2 p.m. – San Sebastian vs Perpetual Help
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs Air Force
Philippine Army drew another pair of big games from its two former MVPs as it shot down Air Force, 25-23, 25-13, 25-20, yesterday to annex its second straight victory for a share of the lead with idle Ateneo in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Thursday.
Michelle Carolino, the 2005 first conference MVP, frolicked with an 18-hit performance while Balse, the best MVP winner in 2004, added 11 points while the rest backed them up with solid reception and net defense to fashion out the 67-minute victory.
Carolino and Balse’s outputs actually paled in comparison to their 26-point and 13-hit production in leading the team past Navy last Tuesday, but they proved enough to carry the squad to victory as Air Force continued to struggle with their offense, making just 31 hits out of 130 tries.
In contrast, the Army spikers unloaded 140 attempts on the net, making 48 of them while coming away with 11 blocks against their rivals’ five.
Joanne Bunag, who scored 20 hits against Navy, saw action only in the first two sets as coach Rico de Guzman deemed it best to rest her for tougher games ahead. She finished with nine points, the same output churned out by Marietta Carolino while Dahlia Cruz added eight to underscore the team’s cohesiveness and balance scoring.
Rachel Daquis took over for Bunag in the third and scored four points.
The win also made Army a chief contender for the crown in the inaugural staging of the Open tournament which drew three military teams and one commercial squad aside from the three member schools of the regular conference offering by the league.
Air Force fell to 0-2, its bid for a quarterfinal seat dampened as it continued to settle down with its plays anchored on two fancied guest players who are also former MVPs of the league – Aiza Maizo and Cherry Rose Macatangay.
Maizo, the former UST star, delivered 14 kills while Macatangay had nine attacks and finished with 10 points. Jennifer Manzano, another guest player, added eight as Liza Deramos, who had nine hits the first time out, was held to three points.
After a tough first set win, Army dominated the second as the Carolino sister and Balse came through with their attacks that pierced through Air Force’s defenses for an early 9-3 lead.
They sustained that romp and went on to wrap up the set then held on in the third to complete the sweep and match Ateneo’s big start in the league.