LADY TROOPERS CLIP T BOOSTERS, SEIZE SOLO LEAD

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Army turned its showdown with PLDT Home Telpad into a virtual workout as it fashioned out a surprisingly easy 25-18, 25-16, 25-15 victory to stretch its win run to four while snapping the Turbo Boosters’ own four-game streak in the Shakey’s V-League Season II Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Thursday.

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The Lady Troopers flaunted their awesome hitting skills, superb reception and intimidating net defense to finish off the Turbo Boosters in just 64 minutes and move three wins away from sweeing the single round elims of the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.

Former MVPs MJ Balse, Nene Bautista and Jovelyn Gonzaga fired 12 hits apiece while Rachel Ann Daquis added 11 in a well-balanced attack that produced 43 kills for Army, nearly doubling the 24-attack effort by the Turbo Boosters, the league’s newcomers who made quite an impression by sweeping their first four games via straight-set romps.

But the Lady Troopers, winners in this conference in Season 8, cut short their rivals’ surge as they outhit, outplayed and overpowered the Turbo Boosters to remain the lone unbeaten squad in the league where it all started.

“We respect PLDT Home Telpad so much that I told my players not to relax even we were leading,” said Army mentor Rico de Guzman, who also drew seven blocks and eight service aces from his fired-up squad.

So tough was Army’s reception and defense that no PLDT player managed to score in double figures with Suzanne Roces, also a former MVP who normed 11 hits after four games, held to just four points.

Gretchel Soltones topscored for PLDT with seven markers with Angela Benting and Laurence Ann Latigas chipping in six and five points, respectively. Charo Soriano, the league’s leader in serves, finished with just three hits.

In a post-game interview, PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb was so disgusted by his wards’ performance that he told the media to ask the players themselves.

After sweeping their first four games in smashing fashions, the Turbo Boosters indeed played below par against the Lady Troopers, who in contrast dished out their most impressive game thus far with Ginie Sabas, setter Tina Salak, Joanne Bunag and Sarah Jane Gonzales also combining 11 points.

Meanwhile, the Army-PLDT duel, along with the Air Force-Cagayan clash being played at presstime, will shown on GMA News TV Channel starting at 1 p.m. today (Friday), according to the organizing Sports Vision.

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