Titleholder Pocari Sweat-Air Force hopes to ride on the momentum of its back-to-back wins as it shoots for solo second against a resurgent PetroGazz side as the race to the quarterfinals heats up in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan today.
The Lady Warriors checked an early struggle with victories over the Iriga-Navy Lady Oragons and the BaliPure-NU Water Defenders to join the idle PayMaya High Flyers at second at 3-2, behind the Creamline Cool Smashers’ pacesetting 4-1 mark.
But the Angels are back in the hunt after dropping their first three games, beating the BanKo-Perlas Spikers and the Lady Oragons to move up to joint fifth heading to the last four play dates in the single round eliminations among eight teams in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Asics.
That makes their 4 p.m. encounter doubly interesting with both Pocari and PetroGazz gunning for their third straight and a boost to their drive in the next phase plus a possible crack at one of the two outright semifinal berths.
Tacloban, which also totes a 2-3 card, battles Iriga-Navy (1-3) at 6:30 p.m. in a crucial match between struggling teams.
Cignal and Instituto Estetico Manila tangle in the lone men’s match at 1 p.m., which can be viewed via streaming on www.sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream. The women’s matches, on the other hand, will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA on SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD on SkyCable Channel 183 and via streaming.
The HD Spikers, the Phoenix Volley Masters and Vice Co. Blockbusters share the men’s lead with 2-1 cards.
“Our last two games are must-wins for us so in case of a tie or quotient, we have a shot at the top two slots,” said Pocari coach Jasper Jimenez.
PetroGazz, meanwhile, is again expected to draw another big game from import Olena Lymareva-Flink of Ukraine, who replaced injured Kadi Kullerkann and impressed with her 16-point and 14-dig debut against Iriga-Navy last Saturday.
The Angels also lost Rachel Austero (left shin stress fracture), with Cherry Nunag filling in her spot, while Wensh Tiu is out for at least two weeks due to peroneal tendon dislocation.
“We’d like to perform better. The players had a string of injuries but the rest are motivated and ready to perform,” said PetroGazz coach Jerry Yee.