Wewe Medina took charge on both ends as the Philippine Army overcame a 0-2 deficit to stun Ateneo-Fudgee Barr in five sets, 22-25, 19-25, 26-24, 25-19, 15-10, in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference on Sunday at the Paco Arena.
Medina fired a game-high 24 points on 19 attacks, three aces, and two blocks, along with 32 excellent receptions and 11 excellent digs, to help the Troopers tie Kinto Tyres-Perpetual at the second spot with identical 2-1 records in Pool A.
“Sabi ko sa kanila kasi maglaro lang. Magpakilala sila kung sino sila at kung ano yung dinadala nilang team para lumaban nang maayos. Ayun nga, maganda kasi nagtrabaho sila. Lahat ng pinasok nagcontribute naman, maganda rin yung kinalabasan,” said Army head coach Melvin Carolino.
After dropping the first two sets, the Troopers managed to secure a morale-boosting victory in the extended third frame, wherein they fended off the Blue Eagles after Mark Enciso and Medina delivered the crucial attacks that put them on the board.
Army rode the momentum through the fourth set before going on a red-hot 9-2 start in the fifth frame, courtesy of Benjaylo Labide, Kevin Liberato, Enciso, and Medina.
Ateneo was able to cut the deficit to three, 10-13, after a quick point from Cyrus De Guzman, but that was the closest they got as Labide and Liberato nailed consecutive points to finish the game.
“Sabi ko talaga kailangan makuha namin ‘to para yung pagkatalo namin sa Perps, macover. Hanggang sa darating na game kailangan manalo,” said Carolino.
Enciso scored 20 points on 18 attacks and two blocks, while Labide and Villonson added 16 and 11 points, respectively, for the Troopers after two hours and 11 minutes of game time.
Nico Ramirez steered the offense with 20 excellent sets, while John Kenneth Bayking manned the floor and tallied 19 excellent receptions and 17 excellent digs in the win.
On the other hand, Ken Batas led Ateneo with 16 points, while Jettlee Gopio and De Guzman chipped in 14 and 13 points, respectively, as the Blue Eagles dropped to 1-2 at the third spot, tied with Iloilo.