PGJC-Navy banked on its main guns and the heroics of Jemmy Entig off the bench to beat VNS One-Alicia, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22, Thursday to open the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference round-robin semifinals at the Paco Arena in Manila on a high note.
Old reliables Greg Dolor and Jau Umandal provided the usual productions but it was Entig who stepped up big time after starting middle Roniel Rosales went down with a left ankle injury in the opening set as the Sealions extended their winning streak to five since the eliminations.
Navy easily dismantled a four-point deficit, 12-16, in the third set to complete the one-hour, 24-minute sweep and duplicate its mastery over the Griffins, whom the Sealions demolished, 19-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-21 in the eliminations last 17 September.
Dolor went on a tear, hitting 18 kills to finish with a game-high 20 points while league-leading scorer Jau Umandal pumped in all of his 12 markers on attacks and added 15 excellent receptions for Navy, who also saw the return of Joven Dela Vega after missing half of the eliminations.
Entig made his presence felt after coming in as a substitute for Rosales, who sat out the rest of the game icing his swollen ankle, as he chipped in nine points.
Playmaker EJ Casana tallied 23 excellent sets that helped Navy convert 51 attack points.
Despite the win, Sealions head coach Cecil Cruzada, however, was far from impressed.
“It was an ugly win. We struggled with our reception and we were unsynchronized on our blocking,” rued Cruzada, whose team only had five kill blocks after logging 13 in their first encounter with VNS.
“Good thing we’re able to make some adjustments and they responded in the end game.”
It was the Griffins who controlled the game early in all three sets only to sputter in the closing stretch.
VNS gave Navy a scare in the third set when it took a four-point separation heading into the second technical timeout.