Three of the four leading teams and one trying to crash through the backdoor collide in a pair of matches that could clear or mess up the semifinal race in the Premier Volleyball League All Filipino Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig on Tuesday.
Creamline goes all-out for the first Final Four berth against a PLDT side hot on a four-game run while joint third-running F2 Logistics faces a Choco Mucho crew seeking to stay in the conversation heading to the final stretch of the single round elims.
The Cool Smashers rebounded from a tough five-set setback to the F2 Logistics squad with big victories over the Chery Tiggo Crossovers and the Army Lady Troopers as the defending champions regained the solo lead at 5-1 following a couple of reversals that stymied the bids of the Cargo Movers and the Crossovers.
But the High Speed Hitters silently but effectively put themselves in strong contention with a sweep of their last four matches after dropping a five-setter to the Cargo Movers last Feb. 7, making them the hottest squad among the chief semis contenders in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
With both teams coming off a week-long rest, the Creamline-PLDT duel at 4 p.m. is expected to be tight and fierce although the Cool Smashers will most likely bank on their firepower to halt their rivals’ charge and formalize their stint in post-elims play.
But PLDT coach Rald Ricafort has whipped his squad, made up of Mika Reyes, Jovie Prado, Dell Palomata and Mean Mendrez and reinforced by Michelle Morente, into one fighting, cohesive unit with their new recruit norming 13.2 points in their last four games,
Creamline, however, boasts not only of talents in Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza, Ced Domingo and Michele Gumabao but also of championship experience, having reigned in this conference, the former Open, the last three editions.
F2 Logistics, meanwhile, tries to recover from a stinging shutout loss to Petro Gazz last Thursday after shocking Creamline in five and thumping Cignal in three but the Cargo Movers will be as much tested as the Flying Titans in their 6:30 p.m. encounter.
While F2 Logistics, in joint third with Petro Gazz with 4-2 marks, will have winless Army as its final elims assignment on Saturday, the Cargo Movers won’t rely on that chance to advance but will set out against the Flying Titans with the same winning mindset and determination.
So does Choco Mucho, which needs to sweep its last three games to stay in the semis hunt although unlike the other bidders, the Flying Titans face an uphill battle with the Crossovers, at fifth with a 3-3 slate, and the High Speed Hitters as their next two opponents.
Games are telecast live on One Sports, One Sports+, Cignal Play, and SMART Live Stream and on pvl.ph.