• PLDT, Navy duel for V-L semis playoff

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    PLDT Home Ultera and Philippine Navy clash today in a key matchup for teams gunning for at least a playoff for a semifinal berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 12-Reinforced Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.

    Relying heavily on the power-hitting pair of Gretchel Soltones and Janine Marciano, the Ultrafast Lady Hitters turned back the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, 25-12, 22-25, 25-15, 25-17, last week to tie their victims at second at 2-1.

    The Lady Sailors, on the other hand, blasted the Kia Forte, 25-18, 25-23, 25-21, last Oct. 25 but fell to the league-leading unbeaten Army Lady Troopers, 14-25, 17-25, 14-25, last week to fall a 2-2 (win-loss) slate.

    That makes their 12:45 p.m. encounter crucial with the winner closing in on one of the semis seats in the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s and presented by PLDT Home Ultera.

    The loser will fall in a mad scramble with Coast Guard and Kia Forte for the fourth and last semis berth.

    “We will go for it [win]but we have to continue to play aggressive,” said PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb, seeking to become the first coach in league history to complete a personal grand slam after steering PLDT to the Open Conference title and National U to the Collegiate Conference crown.

    The PLDT-Navy match will be shown live on GMA News TV Channel 11, kicking off another weekend volley festival where fans will be treated to live coverage of the matches, including tomorrow’s (Sunday) games pitting Army vs Coast Guard at 12:45 p.m. and Kia vs UP at 3 p.m., according to the organizing Sports Vision.

    Meanwhile, Gorayeb said Alyssa Valdez remains a doubtful starter after the ace spiker sustained a back injury while playing in a beach volley tournament recently.

    But the Ultra Fast Hitters remain the favorite with Soltones, the NCAA MVP, and Marciano, along with Rubie de Leon, Sue Roces, Rysabelle Devanadera, Laurence Ann Latigay and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas tipped to lead the team anew against Navy’s Pau Soriano, Lilet Mabbayad, May Madulid, Hezzymie Acuna and Therese Veronas.

    “They’ve played really big for us the last game, they’re an important part in our success,” said Gorayeb of Soltones and Marciano.

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