University of Santo Tomas shoots for the first Final Four berth while Laoag seeks to stay in the semis race as they collide in a key match today in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The Tigresses are raring to bounce back from their straight-set setback to a surging Customs side last Saturday that snapped their four-game run in the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
But the Power Smashers are also out to rebound from their shutout loss to the UP Lady Maroons last Monday, ensuring a slam-bang duel of two teams without reinforcements in the import-laced tournament backed by Mikasa as official ball and Accel as official outfitter.
Gametime is at 6 p.m. to be shown 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.
“We have to play with more aggressiveness and intensity if we want to stay on top and be with the best in the league,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes, whose wards bucked the odds to sweep their first four matches that assured themselves of at least a playoff for the last semis seat.
Laoag mentor Nes Pamilar voiced the same sentiment.
“The key is playing with a lot of intensity from start to finish because we lost our last game because we struggled a bit at the start of the game,” said Pamilar, referring to their 20-25, 16-25, 23-25 loss to a struggling UP side.
UST is expected to come in full force with Cherry Rondina making her second appearance since leading her school to the UAAP beach volleyball crown.
EJ Laure, the league’s second leading scorer next only to Customs’ Alyssa Valdez, remains the Tigresses’ top draw with support to come from Claudia Cortez, Ria Meneses, Carla Sandoval and skipper Pam Lastimosa.
Laoag, on the other hand, will bank on the power-hitting duo of Grethcel Soltones, the back-to-back NCAA MVP and this year’s Open Conference MVP from San Sebastian, and Jorelle Singh, member of the National U side that topped this year’s Collegiate Conference.
Air Force (1-3) and Coast Guard (0-4), meanwhile, collide at 4 p.m. in a match to be shown on a delayed basis.
Air Force, meanwhile, guns for its third straight win as it clashes with fancied Army (1-0) at 12:30 p.m. in the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Third Conference, also at Philsports.