Lady Warriors, Jet Spikers face off anew in quarters opener
Mark Escarlote on May 26, 2017 09:49 PM
Philippine Air Force and Pocari Sweat begin their quarterfinals campaign with an early rematch.
Pocari Sweat and Philippine Air Force meet once again just two days after their last encounter as the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference round robin quarterfinals open Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Opening serve is at 4:00 p.m. and will air via livestream.
All teams in the quarterfinals will have their prelims record reset to 0-0, making the race for the last two semifinals seats an open battle among the Lady Warriors, Jet Spikers, Creamline and Perlas.
BaliPure occupies the top spot in the best-of-three semis series while the Power Smashers landed as the no. 2 seed.
Philippine Air Force marches into battle holding the momentum of their 25-19, 24-26, 25-27, 25-21, 15-6, win over Pocari Sweat last Thursday to end the prelims with a 2-8 card.
The victory snapped their seven game-losing slump while handing the Lady Warriors their second straight loss.
“Hopefully magtulu’y tuloy ang magandang performance namin. Tumaas ang kompiyansa namin at mag-step up lahat,” said Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez.
Thai import Patcharee Saengmuang, who scored 27 points the last time out, will spearhead the Jet Spikers’ fight with locals Joy Cases, Jocemer Tapic, May Ann Pantino and Iari Yongco.
Pocari Sweat lost its chance of making it in semifinals outright with their sudden dip. The Lady Warriors closed the prelims in a tie with the Power Smashers with 6-4 slate but the latter occupied the no. 2 spot via higher tiebreak.
Lady Warriors American import Michelle Strizak registered the league-best point total with 40 in their loss.
Pocari Sweat head coach Rommel Abella stressed that his locals must step up if they want to advance in the semis.
“We can’t rely on Michelle (Strizak) alone,” said Abella, who is two player short after the injuries sustained by Bosnian import Edina Selimovic and local ace Myla Pablo.
Selimovic is ruled out of the competition because of a hamstring tear while Pablo aggravated her lingering back spasm. Pablo sat out the Lady Warriors’ last two games.
“Psychologically disadvantage sa amin yun pero sabi ko nga sa kanila we’re not high school kids, not high school players anymore. Most of them are not college players na. Sabi ko sa kanila kung ano ang ibinato sa atin sa sitwasyon kailangan nating ma-overcome,” said Abella.
Pablo, who was in uniform the last time out, is still doubtful to see action.
“Hindi namin siya minanadali bumalik pero mukhang nami-miss na siya ng mga teammates niya,” the Lady Warriors mentor said. “Pero ayaw naman namin pilitin lalo na’t likod yun. Masakit talaga siya.”
Meanwhile, Sta. Elena (2-1) and Philippine Army (2-2) collide at 1:00 p.m. in the men’s division for the third semifinals seat.
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