Top seed Army takes on Air Force while No. 2 PLDT Home Telpad clashes with defending champion Cagayan Valley in a pair of best-of-three series tipped to go down-to-the-wire in the Final Four of the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 Open Conference The Arena in San Juan today.
The Lady Troopers, seeking to reclaim the crown they won in smashing fashion in Season 8, and the Air Spikers, who nipped the Ateneo Lady Eagles in a playoff to stay in the hunt, split their two faceoffs in the elims and quarters. But the former are slightly favored over the latter in their 2 p.m. encounter owing to their power-packed roster led by former MVPs Jovelyn Gonzaga, Rachel Ann Daquis, Nerissa Bautista and Mary Jean Balse, who are among the top 10 scorers heading to the semis of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
But the Air Spikers are riding the crest of their surprising straight-set win over the Lady Eagles last Tuesday with coach Clarence Esteban expected to spring another surprise the way he startled the reigning UAAP champions when he used top hitter Maika Ortiz as a decoy that threw the Loyola-based squad’s net defense and reception in disarray.
Air Force is also No. 2 in blocks next to National U, piling up 100 off the kill out of 798 attempts through the quarterfinals for an average of 2.22 per set. But the Air Spikers must also step up in offense after finishing at No. 6 as against Army’s No. 2 ranking behind Ateneo.
The Turbo Boosters, meanwhile, hope to reassert their mastery over the Rising Suns, whom they swept in two meetings in the conference backed by MIkasa and Accel. Led by former MVP Sue Roces, Gretchel Soltones and Laurence Ann Latigay and backstopped by Charo Soriano, Ryzabelle Devanadera, Angela Benting and ace setter Rubie de Leon, the Turbo Chargers are raring to go all the way to the championship right on their very first try.
But the Rising Suns, who dropped their first four games in the quarters but swept the Air Spikers to clinch the No. 3 spot, are out to keep the crown they won in record fashion last year when they swept all their 16 matches, including a pair of 3-2 victories in the finals over Smart-Maynilad.
The match is set at 4 p.m. with Cagayan coach Nes Pamilar pinning his hopes on Aiza Maizo, Pau Soriano, Ma. Angeli Tabaquero, Rosemarie Vargas, Joy Benito and playmaker Gyzele Sy.
Games can be viewed live via streaming on www.v-league.ph with the matches to be shown on a delayed basis on GMA News TV Channel, according to the organizing Sports Vision.