PLDT steps up semifinals bid vs. Ateneo in V-League

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PLDT Home Telpad sets out for a repeat over an Ateneo side seeking to bounce back from a pair of heartbreakers, looking for no less than the headway in their spirited chase for semifinal berths in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan today (Sunday).

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Tied with Army and Cagayan Valley after the elims with 6-1 slates, PLDT Home Telpad hopes to build some cushion against the two fancied teams as the Turbo Boosters try to duplicate their 25-21, 25-13, 26-24 victory over the Lady Eagles on July 7 at the start of the single round quarters.

While PLDT is coming off back-to-back wins over National U and Air Force, Ateneo is reeling from a pair of five-set losses to Army and Cagayan, sending the reigning UAAP champions to the brink with a 2-5 card.

But the Lady Eagles are expected to pour it all in their 4 p.m. encounter in a bid to wheel back into contention for the last semis berth in the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s and backed by Mikasa and Accel.

But Alyssa Valdez, the league’s top scorer with a 27-hit norm in the elims, will need a lot of bench support to keep their flickering hopes alive. Amy Ahomiro, Miren Gequillana and Michelle Morente have stepped up the last few games but the rest must raise the level of their respective games to help the team stay in the hunt.

But expect the Turbo Boosters to come out strong from a nine-day break with the league’s newcomers itching to re-assert their mastery over the Lady Eagles. Suzanne Roces and Gretchel Soltones are again tipped to lead PLDT’s charge along with Laurence Ann Latigay, top blocker Charo Soriano, ace setter Rubie de Leon and the league’s top receiver Lizlee Ann Pantone.

The 2 p.m. match between Air Force and National, meanwhile, promises to be a toss-up although the Raiders enjoy a psychological edge following their 3-0 romp over the Lady Bulldogs on July 29 to finish the elims with a 4-3 card for No. 4.

Games can be viewed live via streaming on www.v-league.ph with the Air Force-NU duel to be aired on a delayed basis on GMA News TV Channel starting at 1 p.m. tomorrow. The PLDT Home Telpad-Ateneo clash will be shown Tuesday, according to the organizing Sports Vision.

But with a 3-4 slate, NU, the top spiking and blocking team after the elims, remains very much in the race for the No. 4 seat in the semis, ensuring a slambang faceoff between the two teams fighting for the last berth in the Final Four.

Maika Ortiz, Joy Cases, Iari Yongco, Judy Caballejo, May Ann Pantino, Jocie Tapir and the league’s top setter Rhea Dimaculangan will spearhead Air Force’s drive against an NU side boasting of the league’s No. 2 scorer and best spiker Jaja Santiago, Myla Pablo, Rizza Mandapat, Jorelle Singh, Desiree Dadang and setter Ivy Perez.

Standings
PLDT                6        1
Army                6         1
Cagayan           6         1
Air Force         4         3
National U       3         4
Ateneo             2         5

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