3 p.m. – Creamline vs PacificTown Army
5 p.m. – PetroGazz vs BanKo-Perlas
The clear underdogs, BanKo Perlas-PacificTown Army vow to bite back and spoil the projected PetroGazz-Creamline title clash when the Final Four of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference is fired off tomorrow at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
If one were to go with the elims record, the Angels and the Cool Smashers could be heading to a face-off following the two teams’ sweep of the Perlas Spikers and the Lady Troopers, respectively, in the double-round qualifiers.
But expect PacificTown and BanKo-Perlas to be as ready as the two fancied teams coming off a three-day break.
While imports will definitely run the show in the semis, the local support will also be a key to a team’s drive for the championship in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
PetroGazz boasts of Cuban Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson, and Creamline has Thai veteran Kuttika Kaewpin and Ale Blanco as imports. But the two other squads also have their own talented reinforcements ready to step up in the next phase – Yasemin Yildirim and Thai Sutadta Chuewulim (BanKo-Perlas), and Olena Lymareva-Flink and Jenelle Jordan (PacificTown Army).
PacificTown Army emerged as the top digging team after the elims although the Lady Troopers would need to work harder in anticipation of the Cool Smashers’ attacks that could come from all angles and from a number of players.
BanKo-Perlas, on the other hand, would definitely bank on its blocking prowess after topping that department with a 2.46-block average per set after the elims. But like the Lady Troopers, the Perlas Spikers would need to toughen upfront against the league’s top-spiking team.
That should make the opener of the best-of-three semis series worth watching with PacificTown Army eager to get back at Creamline starting at 3 p.m. and BanKo-Perlas out to stop PetroGazz domination in their 5 p.m. showdown.
Game Two is set on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo while Game 3, if necessary, will be played July 10 back at the San Juan arena.
The Angels, third placer last year, swept the Cool Smashers in the opening day of the third season of the league sponsored by Mikasa, Asics and KFC and swept their next six games. Though they bowed to the Cool Smashers in their second face-off, the Angels still took the top seeding in the semis.
After that setback to PetroGazz hastened by Alyssa Valdez’s sidelining due to injury in the second set, the defending champions won their next eight matches but had to settle for No. 2.
Over in Spikers’ Turf, Sta. Elena did what nine other teams before it had failed, beating Cignal HD, 25-20, 25-22, 19-25, 25-21, even as Air Force survived Animo Green in five in the Reinforced Conference.
The Ball Hammers pounced on the HD Spikers’ miscues to overcome the latter’s edge in spikes, 49-53, and blocks, 7-10, scoring 34 points off their rivals’ errors to pound out the one hour-42 minute victory. The win was Sta. Lucia’s sixth against four losses.
The Jet Spikers, meanwhile, checked an impending skid and repulsed the Animo Blazing Spikers, 25-20, 25-21, 23-25, 21-25, 16-14, while PLDT turned back Navy, 25-22, 25-18, 29-27.