Air Force scored what could be considered the biggest upset of the 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference elimination round and coach Jasper Jimenez has a couple of veterans to thank for this.
After leading the Jet Spikers to a 20-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-15 triumph over Pocari Sweat, the mentor paid tribute to setter Wendy Semana and opposite Judy Caballejo for spearheading the team.
“Malaking factor samin yung setter namin na si Wendy tsaka yung opposite niya, si Judy,” he said. “Nadala nila yung team, tapos nag contribute lahat. Although slow start kami, yung game plan namin na kargahan yung service, nag prosper.”
Semana had 44 excellent sets, masterfully orchestrating the Air Force’s offense even as Caballejo delivered 14 points, 5 off service aces.
Coming into the match as underdogs, the Jet Spikers played all out despite missing middle blocker Dell Palomata anew.
Jimenez said the Lady Warriors looked fatigued when they battled, owing to the fact that Pocari fought from the dead to beat Bali Pure in a 5-set match that ended at almost 10:00pm last Saturday.
“Siguro may impact yun. Yung mga muscles pa nila is very tight,” said the coach, whose team had 4 days of rest. “Pero ang ganda nung umpisa nila. Sinwerte kami, ganun lang siguro yun. Ganun lang ang suma nun, sinwerte kami.”
With 4 Air Force belles scoring in double digits, Jimenez is impressed that his wards are finally coming out of their shells and proving to be better as the tournament nears crunch time.
“Yung foundation namin, yun yung maipagmamalaki namin. Kahit may edad na, siguro yung pinapanghawakan namin na solid kami, yun siguro ang magiging isang factor nun,” he said.
“Sobrang happy in the sense na ganyan na nagsasabay-sabay na silang mag step-up. Sana pagdating ng semis tsaka Finals e, lahat na. Kailangan bago magawa yun, kailangan namin ng hardwork. Hindi basta-basta yun. Kailangan usap palagi, focus every game.” — By Joyce Palad