Perpetual Help and National U gear up for a fierce showdown for the first semifinal berth while Far Eastern U and La Salle prime up for their own duel next week as the race to the Spikers’ Turf Season 2 Collegiate Conference semis heats up at The Arena in San Juan on Saturday.
The Altas, Bulldogs, Tams and Archers are all tied at 3-1 in Group A elims with the top two advancing to the Final Four, making the Perpetual-NU and FEU-La Salle duels a pair of KO matches for the coveted berths in the mid-season conference organized by Sports Vision and backed by Accel as official outfitter.
The Archers and the Tams dispute the other slot next Wednesday.
The Group B race, meanwhile, is reduced to a three-team battle although defending champion is assured of a playoff for the other Final Four seat with a 4-0 slate.
University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas, toting identical 3-1 slates, are set to slug it out for the other slot although the Maroons will have a tougher assignment against the Eagles on Monday.
The Tigers will close out their elims campaign against also-ran Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals next Wednesday.
The Taneo brothers, Rey and Relan, along with Manuel Doliente, libero Jack Kalingking and setter Warren Catipay are expected to lead the Altas’ charge against the Bulldogs, who are tipped to be led by the power-hitting duo of Bryan Bagunas and Madzlan Gampong along with Kim Malabunga, libero Ricky Marcos and playmaker Kim Dayandante.
La Salle, meanwhile, will be headed by the crisp-hitting Raymark Woo, Arjay Onia, Cris Dumago, Mike Frey and setter Geuel Asia with guest player Rafael Del Pilar hoping to step up along with top libero Jopet Movido, who leads the league in digs with 3.31 norm per set.
But FEU remains a tough rival with the Tams to rely on the veteran Greg Dolor, top blocker Paul Bugaoan, Richard Solis, Jude Garcia and Joel Cayaban along with libero Rikko Marmeto and setter Kris Silang.