With early pacesetter Ateneo taking a break, Philippine Army and San Sebastian try to forge a three-way tie for the lead as they take on Air Force and Navy, respectively, at resumption of action in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan Thursday.
The Army spikers, who held off Navy in four sets last Tuesday, mix it up with the Air Force ladies at 2 p.m. while the Lady Stags, who subdued the PAF tossers in Sunday’s opener, tangle with the Navy side in the 4 p.m. game.
Pre-tournament favorite Maynilad, who dropped a tough three-setter to Ateneo, tries to get its title bid going as it squares off with Perpetual Help at 6 p.m. in an explosive triple-bill marking the third playdate of the tournament sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.
The Army-Air Force showdown is expected to go down-to-the-wire with Army coach Rico de Guzman expressing guarded optimism as they try to build momentum in the single round robin series among seven teams chasing the first “Open“ championship.
“We’re familiar with each other’s game so this won’t be an easy match for us,” said De Guzman, who drew a 23-hit, two-block performance from former MVP Michelle Carolino in their come-from-behind 23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-23 victory over Navy, in Filipino.
Air Force, meanwhile, will pin its hopes on former UST star AIza Maizo and former fellow MVP Cherry Rose Macatangay along with Jen Manzano, Liza Deramos, Ma, Teresa dela Rosa and Wendy Semana as they seek to stop their counterparts from Army.
The Lady Stags also face an uphill battle against the Navy spikers, who are expected to bounce back strong to avoid falling 0-2 in the tournament where the top six will advance to the quarterfinal round. SSC got four two-digit outputs from its mainstays and guest players to underscore their readiness to contend for the crown.
American reinforcement Lauren Ford fired 12 hits, while Rubin de Leon, Jang Baulee of Thailand and Joy Benito backed her up with 11 points apiece as the SSC spikers fashioned out a 25-15, 25-21, 25-22 win over the Air Force ladies.
Maynilad, meanwhile, is tipped to get past Perpetual Help behind Joy Cases, Nica Guliman, Ma, Josephine Cafranca, Mervic Mangui and Beverly Boto while the Altas will rely on Norie Diaz, Sandra delos Santos, Honey Tubino and April Sartin as they try to pull off an upset over the lone commercial team in the league.