PVL Open Final 4 under way

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Alyssa Valdez returns to action as Creamline takes on BaliPure today while Pocari Sweat battles Hair Fairy Air Force at the start of the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

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Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. has given Valdez the green light to suit up for the Cool Smashers, giving the fancied team an extra boost as their try to extend their unbeaten run after sweeping the single round elims.

But the Water Defenders are ready not only to neutralize Valdez’s power but also the rest of the Cool Smashers, who proved their worth in the absence of the two-time MVP in their last three matches in the elims.

Gametime is at 4 p.m. with the Lady Warriors and the Lady Jet Spikers facing off at 6:30 p.m. in a pair of best-of-three playoffs for the final berths in the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Asics.

The four teams are actually in for a grueling weekend with back-to-back games with Game 2 slated tomorrow. Both matches will be shown live on ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel and via livestream at www.sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/pvl.

Valdez joined the Creamline practice upon arrival from Japan following a 17-day training trip with the national team with the former three-time UAAP MVP expected to be in top-form as she goes up against Grethcel Soltones, Risa Sato and Aiko Urdas.

Backing Valdez are Pau Soriano, Rosemari Vargas, Aurea Racraquin, Ivy Remulla and former Ateneo ace setter Julia Morado.

The second-seeded defending champion Pocari Sweat, on the other hand, steps up its drive for a return trip to the finals as it clashes with No. 3 Hair Fairy Air Force.

“The Final Four is a different stage. We have to really work harder and play more aggressive if we want to win,” said Pocari coach Rico de Guzman, who will be pinning his hopes again on Myla Pablo, Jeanette Panaga and Maricar Nepomuceno and setter Gyzelle Sy.

Air Force, meanwhile, will be led by Iari Yongco, Jocemer Tapic, Mary Ann Pantino and veteran Joy Cases and playmaker Wendy Semana.

In men’s play, No. 1 Cignal takes on No. 4 Sta. Elena at 1 p.m. while No. 2 Mega Builders tangles with No. 3 and reigning titlist Air Force at 10 a.m.

Games today
10 a.m.- Megabuilders vs Air Force (m)
1 pm.- Cignal vs Sta. Elena (m)
4 p.m.- Creamline vs Bali Pure (w)
6:30 p.m.- Pocari Sweat vs Hair Fairy Air Force (w)

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