Cagayan, Army seek Shakey’s V-L semis

Unbeaten Cagayan Province and second-running Army try to make it two-in-row over Air Force and Meralco, respectively, and formalize their stint in the Final Four of the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City today (Tuesday).
The Rising Suns whisked off the Air Women in four in their face-off last Aug. 23, kicking off a run of lopsided victories en route to sweeping the eight-team, single round elims. But Cagayan is coming off a 12-day break although its core saw action for the national team in the recent Asian Championships.
Air Force, meanwhile, dropped a four-set setback to Smart-Maynilad at the start of the quarters phase last Sunday and is hard-pressed to bounce back in a bid to shore up its own semis drive in the season-ending conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
Gametime is at 2 p.m. with Cagayan eyeing to stretch its win run to eight and firm up its bid for the No. 1 spot heading to the Final Four of the tournament backed by MIiasa and Accel.
But Army is just behind with a 7-1 card, launching its quarters campaign with a 25-13, 25-23, 25-22 victory over Phl National Police last Sunday. The Army Women swept the Power Spikers in the elims and are expected to re-assert their mastery to stay within striking distance of the Rising Suns.
Like Air Force, Meralco also needs a victory to remain in the semis hunt with the Power Spikers in fifth with a 3-4 card, behind Air Force and Smart-Maynilad’s identical 5-3 cards. PNP is way down in sixth with a 2-6 slate.
Meanwhile, the PNP-Army match last Sunday will be shown on GMA News TV Channel 11 today (Tuesday) starting at 1 p.m. with the Smart-Air Force duel to be aired tomorrow, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
Cagayan coach Nestor Pamilar is expected to lean again on the power-hitting troika of Thai Kannika Thipachot, Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo as the Rising Suns go for a repeat over the Air Women, who also boast of hitters Judy Ann Caballejo, Joy Cases and Maika Ortiz.
The Army-Meralco duel at 4 p.m. also promises to be an explosive match with Jovelyn Gonzaga, Mary Jean Balse, Nene Bautista, Michelle Carolino and Joanne Bunag and setter Cristina Salak going up against a Meralco side headed by Chinese guest player and the league’s leading spiker Coco Wang and backed by top blocker Maureen Ouano, Fille Cainglet, Maica Morada, Stephanie Mercado, ivy Remulla and playmaker April Jose and top digger and receiver Jennelyn Reyes.(pr)
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