PacificTown Army and BanKo-Perlas collide today (Saturday) for the third spot in the Final Four while Motolite tries to force a playoff for the last semis berth against PetroGazz in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Lady Troopers subdued the Perlas Spikers, 25-22, 23-25, 27-29, 25-20, 15-7, in their first round elims clash last June 9 but the two teams will be heading to their 2 p.m. clash coming off contrasting results with the former reeling from back-to-back defeats, including a four-set loss to the powerhouse Creamline Cool Smashers and the latter posting two victories, including a sweep of the ousted BaliPure Water Defenders, both last Wednesday.
Though they are both assured of at least a playoff for the last semis seat with identical 4-5 slates, the Lady Troopers and the Perlas Spikers are going all out for the victory that would formalize their Final Four stint with the loser facing the specter of going through a sudden death for the No. 4 berth.
PetroGazz and Creamline have secured the first two semis seats with 8-1 and 7-1 slates.
With a 3-6 card, the Motolite Power Builders remains hopeful of forcing a playoff although they would have to hurdle a fancied PetroGazz side in their 6 p.m. showdown to stay in the hunt.
Creamline, meanwhile, is tipped to get past winless BaliPure at 4 p.m. that would cap its remarkable comeback from an opening game loss to PetroGazz last May 26 via a nine-game sweep for the top seeding.
Still, focus will be on the PacificTown Army-BanKo-Perlas clash with the locals expected to play stellar roles alongside their respective imports, including Nicole Tiamzon, who has starred in the Perlas Spikers’ last two wins, along with Kathy Bersola, Dzi Gervacio, Sue Roces, Jem Ferrer, Ella de Jesus and Gizelle Tan.
But PacificTown Army boasts of a crew of veteran campaigners, led by Jovelyn Gonzaga, Nene Bautista, MJ Balse-Pabayo and Royse Tubino along with Alina Bicar, Sarah Jane Gonzales and Angela Nuñag.
But coaches of both teams also hope their respective imports will step up with Olena Lymareva-Flink and Jenelle Jordan for the Lady Troopers and Sutadta Chuewulim and Yasemin Yildirim for the Perlas Spikers.
Over in Spikers’ Turf, Cignal HD survived Navy’s tough stand in the third set as it carved out a 25-18, 25-20, 26-24 victory to stretch its unbeaten run to nine and formalize its stint in the semifinal round of the Reinforced Conference at the Paco Arena in Manila last Thursday.
Marck Espejo and skipper Ysrael Marasigan combined for 25 points while Peter Torres added nine markers and John Paul Bugaoan chipped in seven hits as the HD Spikers, whose shaky finish however didn’t sit well with coach Dexter Clamor.
“They played so relaxed (in the third) although they relied on their experience in the end,” said Clamor.
Navy, who drew 14 points from Greg Dolor, slipped to 4-6.
Espejo later suited up for Rebisco-Philippines and fired 14 points, backing Bryan Bagunas’ topscoring 20-hit game as the Nationals battled back from a set down to pull off a 24-26, 25-20, 25-17, 25-18 win for an 8-2.
PLDT dropped to solo fourth at 7-3.
Earlier, Animo outlasted VNS Volley Club, 25-21, 22-25, 36-34, 23-25, 15-12, to improve to 5-4 while dealing the latter their sixth defeat against two victories.