Cagayan, Army face off in clash of titans
MANILA, Philippines - Cagayan Province’s attacking game will be put to a tough test against PH Army’s superb blocking as they clash today in a showdown of unbeaten teams in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
Drawing strength from their unrelenting net attack, the Rising Suns swept their first five matches and rolled into the quarters, including the last four which they fashioned out via sweep, capped by a 25-16, 25-17, 25-22 win over the Far Eastern U Lady Tams last Friday.
But they’ll be facing an Army crew boasting of an equally strong roster and which anchored its own sweep of its first three games on their net defense.
That guarantees a slambang, no-holds-barred duel at 4 p.m. in perhaps the most anticipated matchup thus far in the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
“Our strength is creating attacking opportunities,” said Cagayan coach Nes Pamilar, whose wards are tops in spiking with 40.20 percent success.
But the league’s top defensive squad, with 2.44 blocks per set norm, is ready to stop the Rising Suns.
“We have prepared hard against them and we hope our defense will hold,” said Army mentor Rico de Guzman, whose charges primed up for the big match with a 25-14, 25-15, 25-15 demolition of the Phl National Police last Tuesday
Phl Navy and FEU, meanwhile, collide at 2 p.m. in a duel of winless teams in the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Accel.
Expect the power-spiking Thai import Kannika Thipachot, Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo to carry the scoring cudgels for Cagayan with the troika running first, third and sixth in scoring with 79, 73 and 58, and fifth, third and sixth in spiking successes, respectively.
Army, for its part, will lean again on Jovelyn Gonzaga, who leads the team not only in defense but also in offense.
“She’s the anchor of this team,” said de Guzman referring to his prized ward, who is at No. 8 in scoring with 47 points in three games and second to Meralco’s Chinese import Coco Wang (50.82 percent) in spiking with 50 percent success.
De Guzman also hopes to draw big games from his star-studded crew that includes former MVPs MJ Balse, Nene Bautista and Michelle Carolino with support from Joanne Bunag, Dahlia Cruz, Cristina Salak and Genie Sabas.