Pocari Sweat and Air Force will try to come out strong after a long break as they slug it out in the opener of their best-of-three title series for the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference crown at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City today.
The Lady Jet Spikers swept the Laoag Power Smashers in their semifinal face-off while the Lady Warriors needed to rally from 0-1 down with a sweep of the last two games to eliminate Alyssa Valdez and the BaliPure Water Defenders in their side of the Final Four.
Air Force, starring Judy Ann Caballejo and Joy Cases, will be coming into the 6 p.m. encounter oozing with confidence, having beaten Pocari, 20-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-15, in their lone elimination round clash on June 27 to clinch the top seeding in the semifinals.
“I do think so, considering Air Force beat us in our first meeting,” said Pocari interim coach Rommel Abella when asked of the odds in the title series.
But Air Force mentor Jasper Jimenez disagreed, saying Pocari is packed with a talent-laden roster led by former collegiate stars Myla Pablo of National University and Michele Gumabao and Melissa Gohing of La Salle.
He added that the Lady Warriors have been around and active in the local circuit for quite sometime.
Air Force, in contrast, is just back in the big league after a two-year hiatus.
“I still believe we’re the underdogs considering that they have star players and they’re more intact and experienced than us,” said Jimenez, whose Lady Jet Spikers have achieved their best finish since they joined the league a decade ago before taking a two-year leave of absence in 2014.
BaliPure and Laoag clash in their own series for third at 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, Air Force shoots for the clincher while Cignal goes all-out for a rubber match in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Open Conference Finals as they tangle at 2 p.m. in Game Two of their own best-of-three showdown.