Heavy-hitting Jade Disquitado exploded with a conference-high 34 points as Iloilo rallied past Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-22, to close in on the bronze medal in the Spikers Turf Open Conference at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday.
The young Disquitado almost single-handedly carried the D’Navigators to the victory as he fired away bombs from both wings, finishing with 33 attack points in a victory that more than made up for their five-set defeat to the AJAA Spikers in the elims.
“Oo talagang pinaglaban namin kasi syempre sabi ko nga sa kanila, magpapabugbog lang ba kami sa Imus? Hindi kami babawi? Yun yung mindset ko eh,” said Iloilo head coach John Kenneth Panes.
Iloilo bucked a slow start but needed to toughen up in the second frame to equalize with Disquitado scoring on an off-the-block kill to put the team at set point, 24-22.
Ridz Muhali saved one for Imus but Iloilo tied the match on a successful block touch challenge in the ensuing play.
The D’Navigators broke away from a tight 18-17 game in the third set to post a 24-20 lead after Rash Nursiddik connected on a quick hit then held on to wrest a 2-1 set lead.
Iloilo then used a blistering start in the fourth, 5-1, to seize control but Imus kept on coming back, forcing the count at 19 before Paul Bryan Malaiba scored on crosscourt kill and the D’Navigators sailed through and took a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three series for third on a Disquitado’s kill.
“Kailangan naming bumawi kasi kung matalo pa kami, tatlong talo na tapos kung matalo pa sa Friday apat na so sabi ko para na lang sa mga sarili natin, kung gusto niyo talaga lumaban. Ayun, buti na lang talagang nag-trabaho sila,” added Panes.
Neil de Pedro contributed 12 points on 12 attacks to go along with 14 excellent receptions and nine excellent digs, while Nursiddik finished with 11 points on eight attacks, two blocks and an ace.
John Arano kept Iloilo’s offense in sync with 22 excellent sets while Johnmark Espanso netted 11 excellent receptions and six excellent digs.
On the other hand, Ronniel Rosales scored 17 points on 14 attacks, two blocks, and an ace while Hero Austria produced 14 points on 12 attacks to go with eight excellent digs and eight excellent receptions for the AJAA Spikers.