BaliPure and Air Force expect a Pocari Sweat and Laoag comeback but remain confident of their chances for a repeat and a crack at the championship in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan today (Saturday).
The Water Defenders and the Jet Spikers pulled off a pair of tough three-setters over the Lady Warriors and the Power Smashers, respectively, last Wednesday and both are going all-out to finish off their rivals in their respective best-of-three series.
Air Force takes a crack at the finals first at 4 p.m. against Laoag while BaliPure and Pocari Sweat face off again at 6:30 p.m. in what promises to be a pair of slam-bang matches.
Both games will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23 and via streaming on www.v-league.ph.
“We’ll definitely go for it,” said BaliPure player-coach Charo Soriano, whose wards did not only move closer to a dream finals stint but also avenged their sorry elims setback last week that saw them blew a 2-0 set lead and lose in five.
Alyssa Valdez marked her 23rd birthday in style, firing a match-best 24 hits in powering BaliPure to a 25-20, 25-19, 26-24 victory with former league MVP raring to unleash another performance to remember and steer the team to the championship round of the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Air Force, meanwhile, went to power-spiking Judy Caballejo in the clutch as it turned back Laoag, 25-20, 26-24, 26-24, in their side of the Final Four. The former UST star unloaded 15 points, including the set-clinching hits in the second and third frames.
Air Force mentor Jasper Jimenez said they would need Caballejo to step up again for them to advance and gain a shot at a first-ever V-League crown since joining the country’s premier and longest-running league less than a decade ago.
The Lady Jet Spikers’ best finish was two fourth place efforts in 2013 and 2014.
“We knew she (Caballejo) will be a big part of this team and we need that kind of game again for us to make it to the finals,” said Jimenez.
In the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Open Conference, Cignal and Air Force also try to arrange a title showdown as it seeks win No. 2 against Sta. Elena Construction and Instituto Estetico Manila at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
Relying on the 22-hit effort by La Salle star Raymark Woo, the HD Spikers edged the Wrecking Balls, 25-22, 19-25, 25-22, 26-24, while the Jet Spikers downed the Phoenix Volley Masters, 22-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-23.