• Smart seeks QF playoff vs. Cagayan in Shakey’s V-League


    Dragged to a four-setter after back-to-back straight-set romps, Smart-Maynilad braces for another tough outing as it clashes with Cagayan Province even as Meralco tries to rebound against Far Eastern U in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City today (Tuesday).

    The Smart Net Spikers’ stamina will be as much tested as their talent and skills as the streaking team plays its fourth straight game—this time against a Ca-gayan side which debuted with a four-set victory over Air Force last Friday.

    Gametime is at 2 p.m.

    Another win will assure the Smart Net Spikers of at least a playoff for a quarterfinal berth. The top six teams after the single round elims will advance to the next phase, according to the organizing Sports Vision.

    Despite playing with just eight players, the Net Spikers have proven their worth with Sue Roces sustaining her top form and coach Roger Gorayeb drawing consistent games from Gretchel Soltones, Maru Banaticla, Charo Soriano, Mica Guliman, libero Melissa Gohing and setters Rubie de Leon and Jem Ferrer.

    But the Rising Suns are out to finally end Smart’s run with coach Nestor Pamilar hoping to draw the best from his equally star-studded crew led by Angeli Tabaquero, Aiza Maizo, Joy Benito, Wenneth Eulalio and top setter Relea Saet.

    What makes Cagayan Province a real threat is the presence of Thai guest players Kannika Thipachot and Phomia Soraya with the former providing firepower (20 hits, including 18 kills) and the latter putting up 35 excellent sets in their 25-22, 17-25, 25-14, 25-19 victory over the Air Women.

    Meralco, meanwhile, tries to recover lost ground as it faces winless FEU in the 4 p.m. match marking the fourth playdate of the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Sha-key’s Pizza and backed by Mi-kasa and Accel. The Power Spikers surprised the Net Spikers by winning the first set in their duel last Sunday but the latter imposed their will and strength and swept the next three to preserve their unbeaten run and dropped the former to 1-1.

    But FEU is also raring to bounce back from its straight-set loss to Smart with coach Casael delos Santos pinning his hopes on Mary Palma, Jerrili Malabanan, Samantha Dawson, Christine Agno, Marie Basas and setter Gyzelle Sy.

    Meanwhile, the Army-Air Force match last Sunday will be shown on GMA News TV Channel 11 at 1 p.m. today while the Smart-Meralco clash, also held last Sunday, will be aired tomorrow (Wednesday). Today’s matches will be telecast on Thursday (Smart-Cagayan) and Friday (Meralco-FEU).


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