Games Thursday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
2:30 p.m. – Cignal vs Petro Gazz
5:30 p.m. – Akari vs PLDT
Petro Gazz hopes to come out unruffled from a controversial four-set escape over PLDT the last time out as it collides with an equally determined Cignal side Thursday, even as Akari and PLDT clash in a virtual knockout match in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference elims at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
At solo third with a 3-1 slate, the Angels set out to firm up their bid for the third Final Four slot but expect a stiff challenge from the HD Spikers, who are also hard-pressed to come up with a win and keep their slim semis hopes alive.
With a 2-2 mark, Cignal is mired at sixth and faces so much pressure to sweep its last four games against rivals also in the heat of the race for the last two seats in post-elims play of the season-ending conference organized by Sports Vision.
After the Angels, the HD Spikers will take on the High Speed Hitters, the surging F2 Logistics Cargo Movers and the Choco Mucho Flying Titans.
But their focus is on the 2019 champions, who held off the High Speed Hitters in a heated battle marred by a long delay caused by a dispute over a crucial play, which PLDT challenged. It was, however, ruled unsuccessful.
The league likewise affirmed PLDT’s subsequent protest invalid.
Coming off a sweep of ousted UAI-Army Lady last Thursday, Cignal coach Shaq delos Santos is pinning his hopes again on import Tai Bierria and locals Rachel Anne Daquis, Ces Molina, Roselyn Doria, Ria Meneses, Joy Dacoron, Angeli Araneta and top playmaker Gel Cayuna in their 2:30 p.m. encounter with Petro Gazz.
But the Angels are also all fired up to nail another win and move closer to joining Creamline and Chery Tiggo in the semis with reinforcement Lindsey Vander Weide out to flaunt her hitting prowess anew along with locals Myla Pablo, Jonah Sabete, Grethcel Soltones, Aiza Pontillas, Remy Palma and the equally hard-hitting MJ Phillips.
The 5:30 p.m. encounter between Akari and PLDT also braces for a fierce finish with so much at stake for their respective backdoor bids with the Chargers inspired by their five-set reversal over the Flying Titans last week and the High Speed Hitters trying to recover from that frustrating defeat to the Angels.
While Akari, led by import Prisilla Rivera and locals Janine Marciano, Erika Raagas, Krich Macaslang, Princess Macaslang and Michelle Cobb, and PLDT, to be spearhed by the prolific Elena Samoilenko, Mika Reyes, Dell Palomata and Jules Samonte, are in seventh and eighth places with 2-4 and 1-4 marks, respectively, a sweep of their remaining games will also pump life to their sagging semis chances although they must also hope that only one from Petro Gazz, F2 Logistics, Choco Mucho and Cignal would go over four wins.
Games are aired on One Sports, One Sports+, Cignal Play and Smart Gigaplay with hashtag #TheHeartofVolleyball.