By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The D’Navigators-Iloilo kicked off its 2023 Spikers’ Turf semifinal campaign with a win after crushing the AMC-Cotabato squad, 25-19, 25-22, 25-23, last March 22, 2023, held at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Iloilo not only finished with a win but they also got back at the AMC squad who beat them in the elimination rounds that rusted their perfect start in the professional volleyball tournament.
Jade Disquitado was locked in from the get-go and immediately punished Cotabato’s middle blockers with his 19-point production built from 19 successful attacks.
The high-flying outside hitter was fearless in challenging Cotabato’s lengthy and experienced middle blockers and was the one who sparked their huge offensive rally during the thrilling second set.
Mfena Gwaza also stepped up when D’Navigators needed him the most and contributed 11 points off four attacks, four service aces, and three blocks.
“Ito kasi back to zero na ‘to e. Semis na so talagang pinag-ensayuhan namin ‘to, nag-prepare talaga kami sa game na ‘to saka siguro para sa amin din talaga ‘tong game na ‘to, binigay talaga siguro ni Lord sa amin,” said Iloilo head coach John Kenneth Panes.
Despite the valiant effort from former Philippine team spiker Jau Umandal, the duo of Disquitado and Gwaza proved to be enough to help Iloilo exact their revenge on Cotabato.
Deanne Neil De Pedro also came up big for Iloilo and delivered timely hits in the closing set to end up with 11 points built from nine successful attacks and 10 excellent receptions.
Umandal scored 11 markers for Cotabato but lacked the help he needed when all of his teammates failed to reach double-digit scoring.
With the win, Iloilo will be facing the undefeated Cignal squad today at 3 PM while Cotabato will look to bounce back against Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography in the next scheduled game.