Games on Thursday
2 p.m. – Ateneo vs Navy
4 p.m. – Army vs SSC
Expect American Lauren Ford to bounce back strong and San Sebastian to go flat out for a victory against Army as the Lady Stags try to force a sudden death for the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference crown on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
With Ford clipped to a personal low of five points, the Lady Troopers needed just three sets to beat the Stags, 25-9, 25-20, 25-16, in last Sunday’s opener of their best-of-three series for the league’s season-ending conference sponsored by Shakey’s Pizza.
While Army played true to form, SSC lacked cohesion and firepower that have been the trademark of the Lady Stags’ impressive showing from the elims to the quarters and the semis of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Accel, Mikasa and Maynilad Water.
SSC’s mediocre performance in the series’ opener was best typified by Ford, who came into the Final Four with a league-leading 18.9-point norm.
She actually slowed down with a 10-point performance in their second match with Navy in the semis but her paltry five-point output in the finals came as a big letdown for a player who just bagged not only best scorer plum but also the coveted MVP honors.
Thai import Jang Baulee is tipped to dish out the same fighting form as she did in SSC’s last two games where she emerged as the top scorer with support to come from Rubie de Leon, Joy Benito, Dahlia Robinos and Jennifer Manzano.
The Lady Stags are also expected to make the necessary adjustment on their attacks after the Troopers neutralized them with their awesome blocking with Mary Jean Balse and Rachel Ann Daquis combining for six of the team’s 10 blocks.
But Balse and Daquis are also two of Army’s vaunted hitters, along with the Carolino sisters – Michelle and Marietta. Add Joanne Bunag and Cristina Salak to the mix, the Troopers are indeed one tough team to defend against.
Meanwhile, Navy also seeks an equalizer against Ateneo in their own series for third place with the Lady Sailors likewise needing to step up to avenge their thrilling five-set loss, 22-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-14, 8-15, to the Lady Eagles in Game One.(pr)