Customs, BaliPure prime up for V-L Final 4

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Pocari’s Michelle Gumabao beats Laoag’s Grethcel Soltones for a tip during their Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference duel at the Philsports Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Pocari’s Michelle Gumabao beats Laoag’s Grethcel Soltones for a tip during their Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference duel at the Philsports Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Customs and BaliPure are making sure they’re peaking at the right time heading to the best-of-three semifinals of the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference.

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The Transformers and the Purest Water Defenders clinched the last two Final Four seats with two playdates left in the single round elims with the pre-tournament favorites confident of reaching peak form in time for the cutthroat competition in the playoff phase.

“We’ve sorted out our chemistry issues by making sure we have communication in and out of the court,” said BaliPure team captain Charo Soriano, whose squad and that of Customs joined early semifinalists University Santo Tomas (5-1) and Pocari Sweat (4-1).

“Because of that, we’re improving every game and hopefully we’ll be a better team come the semis and hopefully the finals,” she added.

The Purest Water Defenders actually fumbled at the start of the season-ending conference of the league where it all started, bowing to the Tigresses, 25-21, 25-27, 23-25, 13-25, last Oct. 8.

But they turned things around since, racking up four straight victories, including a 25-21, 26-24, 25-13 win over Team Laoag last Wednesday.

Customs, on the other hand, struggled with losses to BaliPure and Pocari but found a way to bounce back strong from each setback to earn a semis ticket at 4-2.

Transformers coach Sherwin Meneses thinks reception will be the key in their bid for a championship on their first try in the league backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter.

“Never mind the difficult ones, but if we can get the easy balls, we’ll have a strong chance,” said Meneses.

Customs has been working behind the troika of Alyssa Valdez and Thai reinforcements Kanjana Kuthaisong and Nathanicha Jaisaen but have made a conscious effort to improve on their defense with the conversion of Fenela Emnas from setter to libero.

Emnas will form Customs’ two-libero rotation that also consisted of Jonalyn Ibisa.

“Before, we used to have only one libero (Ibisa), now we have two,” said Meneses.

Though the final rankings will only be known next week, a pair of explosive Final Four matches is assured among UST, Pocari, BaliPure and Customs with the No. 1 clashing with the No. 4 and the Nos. 2 and 3 teams slugging it out in best-of-three playoffs.

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