Top seed Army and No. 2 PLDT Home Ultera lived up to the hype and eased out their respective semifinal rivals in emphatic fashions on Sunday to set up a keenly awaited clash for the Shakey’s V-League Season 12-Reinforced Conference crown at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Lady Troopers feasted on the Navy Lady Sailors’ poor reception, coming away with 10 aces on their way to a 25-16, 25-10, 25-22 romp that virtually matched the Ultra Fast Spikers’ 25-11, 25-17, 25-17 demolition of the UP Lady Maroons in their side of the Final Four.
Army and Home Ultera begin their best-of-three title series on Saturday with the Lady Troopers seeking a payback from their Open Conference title setback to the Ultra Fast Hitters early this year.
Jovelyn Gonzaga scored 10 hits while Honey Royse Tubino, Nerissa Bautista, Mary Palma, Sarah Gonzales and setter Tina Salak combined for 30 points for the twice-to-beat Lady Troopers, who struggled a bit in the third but pulled through just the same to complete their 68-minute victory.
Also armed with a twice-to-beat bonus, the Ultra Fast Hitters hardly gave the Lady Maroons a chance for a reversal as Aiza Pontillas and Sue Roces spearheaded a series of Home Ultera attacks right from the start while the rest backed them up with superb reception and net defense to fashion out the 64-minute demolition.
The win thus sent Home Ultera to the finals of the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s and kept Roger Gorayeb’s bid for a rare coaching slam alive after winning the Open Conference crown for PLDT and the Collegiate diadem for National University.
Gorayeb also found no need to field in imports Victoria Hurtt and Sareea Freeman as Pontillas and Roces took charge with 13 and 11 hits and Janine Marciano, Laurence Ann Latigay and Charo Soriano chipped in nine, eight and six markers, respectively.