Cagayan, Smart try to forge title duel
MANILA, Philippines - Cagayan Province and Smart-Maynilad seek to arrange a showdown for the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference crown as they go for a sweep of their respective Final Four duels with Air Force and Army at The Arena in San Juan today.
The Rising Suns bounced back from a first-set loss and survived the Air Women’s gutsy stand in the second frame to hack out a 17-25, 30-28, 25-19, 25-9 victory while the Net Spikers wore down the Army Women, 28-26, 25-17, 19-25, 29-27, in the semis opener last Tuesday.
They switch match time today with Smart-Maynilad getting the first crack at the finals berth against the Army Women at 3 p.m. in what promises to be another cliffhanger between two star-studded, power-hitting teams in the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
New Thai guest player Wanida Kotruang has added depth and firepower to the Smart-Maynilad side boasting of two of the league’s leading scorers in Alyssa Valdez and fellow Thai Lithawat Kesinee.
The troika combined for 59 hits the first time out and with veteran campaigner and former league MVP Sue Roces adding 10 points, the Net Spikers repeated over the Army Women, whom they nipped in five in the quarters, to move closer to a dream final stint in the tournament backed by Mikasa and Accel.
But the Army Women are expected to get back at their tormentors with coach Rico de Guzman hopeful he would draw the best from his stellar crew composed of Jovelyn Gonzaga, MJ Balse, Rachel Anne Daquis, Nene Bautista and Michelle Carolino along with Joanne Bunag and Cristina Salak to force a sudden death.
The Rising Suns will also be hard-pressed not only to repeat over the Air Women but also stretch their unbeaten run to 14 in the 5 p.m. main game.