Tigresses eye No. 5 vs Transformers

Air Force’s Iari Yongco (right) hammers in a kill against Kath Villegas of Laoag during their Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference encounter. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Air Force’s Iari Yongco (right) hammers in a kill against Kath Villegas of Laoag during their Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference encounter.

Unbeaten University of Santo Tomas faces one of its acid tests today as it squares off with Customs even as Pocari and University of the Philippines try to bolster their respective semifinal bids in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference at The Arena in San Juan.

The Tigresses swept their first four games, including against contenders the Air Force Jet Spikers, the BaliPure Water Defenders and the UP Lady Maroons. But their 4 p.m. match with the Transformers looms as toughest, given the latter’s strength and roster led by Alyssa Valdez and reinforced by Thai imports Kanjana Kuthaisong and Natthanicha Jaisaen.

Sure, Customs dropped a shock three-set loss to a resurgent BaliPure side last Wednesday despite playing with a complete roster. But the Transformers, particularly their reinforcements, are expected to have settled down with their play-patterns and their respective games as they try to stop the Tigresses’ amazing run in the season-ending conference sponsored by Shakey’s.

In fact, UST coach Kungfu Reyes has looked forward to a match with Customs where he hopes his wards

“At least, we’ll be able to gauge our strength and gain experience from them (Transformers). We’ll be the one to benefit from this game,” said Reyes, who added that prized setter Cherry Rondina will continue to sit out for a much needed rest after steering the school to the UAAP beach volley crown.

While they hope to sustain their form and run, the Tigresses also brace for a big Customs rebound, particularly from its Thai duo and Valdez, who was held to a 16-hit output by the Water Defenders after churning out a league-best 39 points against the Laoag Power Smashers.

“That’s volleyball. Someone’s gonna win, someone’s gonna lose,” said Valdez after the Transformers dropped to 2-1. “We still have to work on our communications and the things that we need to improve.”

The two-time league MVP and four-time UAAP MVP is expected to go in a hitting duel with UST’s EJ Laure with Carla Sandoval, Marivic Meneses, Chlodia Cortez and Alexine Cabanos out to provide support in the keenly awaited match to be shown on a delayed basis.

Pocari Sweat, another title favorite in the league backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter, guns for its second win in three games as it battles UP (1-2) at 2 p.m. to be aired live over ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 17 or 23 and via streaming on www.sports.abs-cbn.com and via streaming on www.v-league,ph, according to the organizing Sports Vision.

Meanwhile, Cignal tries to bounce back from its setback to Air Force last Monday as it tangles with Champion Supra in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Reinforced Conference, also at Philsports.

Gametime is at 12:30 p.m. with the defending champions hoping to get past the Champion Supra side, which dropped a tough five-set loss to Instituto Estetico Manila last weekend.

Team     W     L
UST         4     0
Laoag     2     1
Customs     2     1
Pocari     1     1
BaliPure     1     1
Air Force     1     2
UP         1     2
Coast Guard     0     4

Games today
12:30 p.m. – Cignal vs Champion
4 p.m. – Customs vs UST
6 p.m. – UP vs Pocari


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