BaliPure, Air Force seek to seal V-L title clash

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BaliPure’s top hitter Alyssa Valdez will have to sustain her attack, the way she did against Pocari’s Michelle Gumabao and Lutgarda Malaluan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

BaliPure’s top hitter Alyssa Valdez will have to sustain her attack, the way she did against Pocari’s Michelle Gumabao and Lutgarda Malaluan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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).

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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.

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