Laoag tough-ened up in the last two sets and bundled out University of the Philippines (UP), 25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 26-24, to snare the last semifinal berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference at the Philsports Arena.
Dragged into tight, fierce duel by the stubborn Lady Maroons all game, the Power Smashers went to player for attacks and their superb blocking at endgame in the last two frames to finally finish off their rivals and join Pocari Sweat, Air Force and BaliPure into the crossover semifinals.
Jovielyn Prado, a rookie from Arellano University, blasted in 22 attack points and finished with a 23-hit output while Mylene Paat and Jessica Galanza combined for 27 points as the Power Smashers closed out their eliminations campaign with a 4-3 card.
UP, led by Diana Carlos’ 19 hits and Isa Molde;s 16 markers, ended up with a 3-4 card in a tie with National University followed by Iriga (1-6) and Baguio (0-7).
Blowing four match points at 24-20, the Power Smashers recovered in time and came through with back-to-back hits to wrap up the four-set victory in and seal a Final Four duel with the top-seeded squad.
Katherine Bersola came through with three blocks and Molde scored on a kill to force a 24-all count. But Galanza rammed in a kill and Paat slammed the door shut on the Lady Maroons with a vicious spike.
“They were a little bit slow in the first two sets so I told the girls that we needed to execute well to win and they did in the last two sets,” said Laoag coach Ernesto Pamilar.
The Lady Warriors, who rallied from two sets down and nipped the Water Defenders in their classic duel watched by a big crowd Saturday night, and Air Force Jet Spikers, were disputing the No. 1 spot at press time.
Earlier, Cignal trampled Sta. Elena Construction, 25-23, 25-19, 25-21, to sweep the six-team eliminations in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Open Conference.
Raymark Woo fired 14 hits while Lorenzo Capati Jr. and Ysrael Marasigan combined for 17 points as the HD Spikers bucked an opening set struggle before regaining their fierce form to complete the straight-set win in 69 minutes.
With five victories, Cignal also took the top seeding in the semis and will meet Sta. Lucia again after the latter wound up fourth with a 2-3 card.
Earlier, Air Force grounded Instituto Estetico Manila, 25-17, 26-24, 25-23, to clinch No. 2 with a 4-1 mark for a semis duel with its victim, which ended up third with a 3-2 mark.