De La Salle U-EcoOil wore down Air Force in a back-and-forth duel that practically drew the best from both sides, including a new league record 47-point explosion from Ranran Abdilla that however went down the drain as the Green Oilers pounded out a 37-35, 23-25, 25-18, 21-25, 15-12 squeaker over the Airmen in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference at the Paco Arena Sunday night.
And La Salle needed every bit of JM Ronquillo's 29 points, Noel Kampton's 23 markers and Nathaniel Del Pilar's 21 to counter Abdilla's record burst and stretched its win run to four in Pool B for a clear shot at the playoffs.
The 31-year-old wing spiker thus eclipsed the 43-point output of Marck Espejo during Cignal's five-set win over, coincidentally, Abdilla's Air Force on Oct. 23, 2019.
"Thank God nanalo. Performance? Not so satisfied. It all boils down how we prepare, that's it. Nandoon siguro yung underestimating the opponent, sabihin nating mga hindi na kundisyon pero sabi ko nga sa kanila hindi yun ang focus nila. Sabi ko don't take it too light, take it seriously," said La Salle head coach Jose Roque after their two-hour, 16-minute escape.
Abdilla actually tried to carry the Airmen in the decider, pouring in seven points. But Kampton and Ronquillo combined for the Green Oilers before Eugene Gloria hammered the match-clinching crosscourt kill.
Gene Poquita tossed 24 excellent sets while libero Menard Guerrero anchored the Green Oilers’ defense with 18 excellent receptions and 12 digs.
The Green Oilers seek to formalize their playoffs stint when they face Cabuyao Cabstars side on Friday. The Airmen, on the other hand, faces VNS on Dec. 1.