• Laoag, Iriga try to stay alive

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    NU’s Jaja Santiago (3) and Aiko Urdas foils Team Laoag’s Mylene Paat’s attack during their Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference clash.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    NU’s Jaja Santiago (3) and Aiko Urdas foils Team Laoag’s Mylene Paat’s attack during their Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference clash. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Two provincial teams seek crucial victories against separate rivals as they try to stay in what looms to be a wild chase for the last semifinal berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference at the Blue Eagle Gym in QC today.

    But between Team Laoag and Iriga, the former appears to have the lighter assignment in winless Baguio with the latter having to hurdle the unbeaten leader Pocari Sweat to keep its flickering semis hopes alive.

    But the Lady Oragons may face a depleted Pocari side as the power-hitting pair of Michelle Gumabao and Myla Pablo remains doubtful starters for their 4 p.m. encounter to be shown live on ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23.

    Gumabao, who averaged 18 hits in the Lady Warriors’ first three victories, is suffering from an abdominal pain, while Pablo, who normed 14 points, has back spasms with the duo’s stint a game-time decision, according to Pocari team manager Eric Ty.

    “They’re both injured. Both wanted to play but I said no because I want them to play in full strength,” said Ty. “We have adequate bench to cover their absence.

    But we’ll see, it will be a game-time decision if they will play or not.”

    Despite the duo’s absence in their last game against Baguio, Pocari still fashioned out a 25-18, 25-17, 25-15 romp last week with Rossan Fajardo, elder sister of La Salle star Kim, and Marciar Nepomuceno stepping up with 15 and 12 hits to power the Lady Warriors to the semis of the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s with a 4-0 card.

    With a 1-3 mark, Iriga must sweep its last three games to stay in the hunt for a playoff for the last semis berth in the tournament backed by Mikasa and Accel.

    Laoag, meanwhile, aims to bounce back from a heartbreaking 26-28, 23-25, 17-25 setback to Bali Pure Monday and remain in semifinals contention as it takes on Baguio, winless in four outings.

    The Power Smashers are currently tied with the National U Lady Bulldogs at No. 4 at 2-3 with a victory over the Summer Spikers in their 6:30 p.m. giving them solo fourth heading to the last four playdates of the single round elims.

    “This game is very crucial for us so we really need to step up and forget about what happened in the past,” said Laoag mentor Nes Pamilar.

    In the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Open Conference, Sta. Elena and Bounty Fresh collide at 1 p.m., hoping to remain the semis hunt.

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