By Jean Malanum

STAR PLAYER. Louie Ramirez of Kinto Tyres-Perpetual scores against two D’Navigators-Iloilo defenders in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference at the Paco Arena on Wednesday (Nov. 8, 2023). Ramirez scored a career-high 38 points as Perpetual survived Iloilo in five sets. (Photo courtesy of PVL)

MANILA – Louie Ramirez sizzled with a career-high 38 points as Kinto Tyres-Perpetual survived D’Navigators-Iloilo, 25-22, 22-25, 25-18, 20-25, 24-22, in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference at the Paco Arena on Wednesday.

The reigning NCAA MVP made 35 attacks, two aces and one block for Perpetual, which improved to 2-1 for second place in Pool A.

“Sa totoo lang, binigay niya lahat syempre. Pero sinabihan ko siya na nakarating ka na ng Japan, MVP ka ng NCAA, you have all the awards so dapat ipakita mo ngayon dito na walang pagod pagod sa game (Actually, he gave everything of course. But I told him that you came from Japan, you are the MVP of the NCAA, you have all the awards, so now you must show here that you are never tired of the game),” Perpetual head coach Sammy Acaylar said.

After D’Navigators sent the match into deciding fifth set, Acaylar urged his players to show their true character by playing focus “because our opponents are good in defense.”

The Altas fought back to take a 14-13 lead in the fifth set before the D’Navigators rallied to wrest the upper hand at 22-21.

Ramirez and Jefferson Marapoc delivered the crucial points in the final set to ensure Perpetual’s win.

Marapoc finished with 14 attacks and four blocks while Michael Medalla had nine points, including five blocks. John Philip Pepito and Klint Mateo had 13 and 11 digs, respectively, while John Christian Enarciso made 14 excellent sets.

Deanne Neil De Pedro led Iloilo with 17 points followed by Kyle Angelo Villamor (16), Mfena Gwaza (13), Gampong (12) and Paolo Gabriel Doronilla (10). Vince Lorenzo had 17 digs and 18 receptions. (PNA)