By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The long wait is over.
The Iloilo volleyball team selection just opened their participation in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference with a bang after sweeping the Philippine Air Force, 25-21, 25-23, 25-19, last January 25, 2023, held at the Paco Arena.
Named the D’Navigators-Iloilo, the Ilonggos brought immediate fireworks in their men’s professional volleyball debut and wrapped up the veteran Air Force team in just three sets.
Team captain Jerome Cordez spearheaded Iloilo’s offensive clinic after dropping 15 big points while also tallying seven digs.
Cordez unleashed a momentum-clinching personal scoring run in the third and final set after dealing Air Force with the last three Iloilo points.
The crafty team leader scored on three successive possessions for Iloilo that capped off a flawless debut in the big boys’ league.
Backstopping Cordez for team D’Navigators was Jade Disquitado who contributed 14 points built from all spikes and offensive receptions.
Disquitado provided Iloilo some spark midway through the second set and helped them pull away before Air Force mounted their scoring rally.
Mfena Gwaza also showed out for Iloilo in their debut game after chipping in 11 points while swatting away Air Force’s spike attempt four successful times.
Gwaza anchored Iloilo’s middle-blocking defense and was responsible for halting Air Force’s attempt to heat up offensively.
“Credit sa mga players namin kasi syempre naglaro sila nang maayos at nakikinig naman. Sabi ko lang tandaan na beterano ‘yung kalaban nila, sila mas bata, mas kundisyon sabi ko alam niyo na ano ang advantage natin,” said Iloilo head coach John Kenneth Panes.