By Jean Malanum
MANILA – Iloilo pulled off a 17-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-18 victory over Philippine Army to take solo leadership in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at Paco Arena in Manila on Sunday.
Jadealex Disquitado scored all but one of his 19 points on attacks while Jerome Michael Cordez added 14 as the D’Navigators remained unbeaten in four starts.
John Michael Apolinario made 27 excellent sets and two blocks, and Neil De Pedro had nine points to go with 14 excellent receptions.
After losing the first set, Iloilo head coach John Kenneth Panes reminded his players to double their efforts.
“They needed to work harder. I’m glad they listened,” Panes said in an interview.
D’Navigators came back strong in the second set behind Cordez and middle blocker Nas Gwaza and kept their momentum in the next two, leaning on Disquitado and middle blocker Rash Nursiddik.
“Our job is not done yet, there is still room for improvement and we cannot be complacent. We need to keep working because we still have many remaining games,” Panes said.
The D’Navigators will take a two-week break as Disquitado will be attending a 10-day training camp with the national pool in Chinese Taipei.
They will return on March 1 to face the Philippine Navy Spikers.
Middle blocker Kevin Liberato finished with 19 points and Benjaylo Labide chipped in 13 for Philippine Army, which absorbed its second setback in four outings. Outside hitters Patrick John Rojas and Mark Christian Enciso contributed 10 points each.
On Wednesday, Cignal takes on Philippine Navy at 5:30 p.m. and Volleyball Never Stops battles Philippine Air Force at 3 p.m. (PNA)