DELL Palomata spelled the big difference in the deciding set as Philippine Air Force outlasted BaliPure, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 18-25, 15-11, and gain a piece of second place in the PVL Open Conference last night at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Jet Spikers lost a 11-4 lead when the Water Defenders made one last stand behind Grethcel Soltones to cut down the deficit to 10-13.
Palomata then took over, nailing two crucial hits to seal the deal for Air Force, which won back-to-back for the first time in the conference.
“Malaki ang tsansa para doon sa fourth spot. Sana magtuloy-tuloy lang. Magandang motivation sa amin yung nananalo kami ngayon,” said Lady Jet Spikers mentor Jasper Jimenez.
With its third victory in four matches, Air Force joined Pocari Sweat at No. 2 behind undefeated Creamline (4-0).
Palomata, a University of St. La Salle graduate, played her best game of the conference for the Lady Jet Spikers with four blocks to finish with 16 points.
“Nakapag-adjust na si Dell. Nag-step up siya at malaking factor siya para sa amin. Nai-stop namin kahit paano si (Risa) Sato,” said Jimenez.
It was the 5-foot-11 Palomata who carried Air Force to the title round in last season’s Open Conference as her presence in the middle was huge for the Lady Jet Spikers.
Neneng Tapic led Air Force with 17 points, including two service aces, Iya Yongco also scored 16 markers, while Mary Ann Pantino added 12 hits and 13 digs.
BaliPure, last conference’s runner-up, suffered its second loss in four contest to drop in fourth place.
Soltones, Jerrili Malabanan and Aiko Urdas each had 17 points while Sato chipped in 15 points, but was not a factor in the fifth frame where the Water Defenders fell early.
The Power Smashers drew 22 hits from Jovie Prado to outlast BanKo-Perlas, 25-22, 16-25, 26-24, 23-25, 15-12, to tie their victims at 1-3 late Saturday.
In the men’s division, Cignal HD improved to 4-0 after a sweep of Gamboa Coffee Mix, 25-11, 25-15, 25-18, while Sta. Elena turned back Army, 25-15, 22-25, 25-21, 25-23.