2 p.m. – Cagayan vs Army
4 p.m. – PLDT vs Meralco
PLDT 2 0
Army 1 1
Cagayan 1 1
Meralco 0 2
Defending champion Army and Cagayan Valley will face off today (Tuesday) in what promises to be a dogfight for the right to face PLDT Home Ultera in the championship at the close of the semifinal round of the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Troopers swept the Lady Rising Suns in their elims faceoff last May 10 but the former are coming off a heart-rending five-set defeat to the Ultra Fast Hitters and the latter are riding the momentum of their three-set romp over the Meralco Power Spikers, both last Sunday.
But records and stats won’t be much of a factor in their 2 p.m. encounter although Army coach Rico de Guzman is expected to bank on his crew of players with vast championship experience as they go up against a Cagayan side going all out for a payback after absorbing a 0-3 defeat in last year’s finals of the Open Conference.
Mary Jean Balse and Nerissa Bautista and ace setter Tina Salak will provide the poise and experience while Dindin Manabat, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Ann Daquis will supply the firepower for the Lady Troopers trying to rebound from that sorry loss to the Ultra Fast Hitters where they blew a 2-1 set lead.
“We need consistency from start to finish. Cagayan is also a veteran team so patibayan na lang ng loob,” said De Guzman, who also hopes to draw some quality play from Carmina Aganon, Pat Siatan-Torres and Christine Agno.
But the Lady Rising Suns are coming into the match all fired-up following their domination of the Power Spikers that tied them with the Lady Troopers at 1-1 in the single round semis phase of the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s and presented by PLDT Home Ultera with Mikasa and Accel as chief backers.
“It will be a question of desire and heart. But we have to neutralize Army’s edge in bench depth with our defense,” said Cagayan mentor Nes Pamilar, who will pin his hopes on former MVP Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Rosemarie Vargas, Janine Marciano, Pau Soriano, Wenneth Eulalio and setter Relea Saet.
PLDT’s escape win over Army netted the Ultra Fast Hitters the first finals slot with a 2-0 slate, counting its 3-0 romp over Cagayan last Thursday with the victory stretching the fancied team’s run to nine, including its sweep of the elims.
The Ultra Fast Hitters try to make it 10 as they tangle with the ousted Power Spikers at 4 p.m.
Game One of the best-of-three finals is set Thursday.
Meanwhile, today’s matches can be viewed live via streaming on www.v-league.ph, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
The Cagayan-Meralco clash last Sunday will be aired over GMA News TV Channel 11 starting at 1 p.m. today with the Army-Cagayan duel to be shown tomorrow (Wednesday) and the PLDT-Meralco tiff to be telecast Thursday.