Air Force, Laoag start semis grudge match

Mark Escarlote on Jun 29, 2016 07:57 AM
Air Force, Laoag start semis grudge match
The young guns of Laoag battle the seasoned veterans of top seed Philippine Air Force on Wednesday in the 13th V-League Open Conference best-of-three semifinals opener.

Top seed Philippine Air Force has a chance to get back at Laoag on Wednesday as the 13th V-League Open Conference best-of-three semifinals series gets underway at The Arena in San Juan.

Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live over ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23, ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD Channel 166 and via livestream on

The Jet Spikers finished the elimination round with a 6-1 win-loss record and are coming off a morale-boosting four-set win over the erstwhile undefeated Pocari Sweat on Monday.

Behind the veterans Joy Cases, Jocemer Tapic, opposite Judy Ann Caballejo, May Ann Pantino and setter Wendy Semana, Air Force earned the no. 1 seat after downing the Lady Warriors, 20-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-15, to get the higher tiebreak (17-16).

The ladies of head coach Jasper Jimenez will try to avenge their 14-25, 23-25, 23-25, loss to the Power Smashers in the eliminations last June 11 – the only loss of the Jet Spikers so far in the tournament.

“Marami kaming factor na dapat baguhin sa amin kasi noong kalaban namin sila (noong elims), nagkasabay-sabay nag-off So yun ang kaiangan ma-overcome namin,” said Jimenez, who lost 6-foot-3 Dell Palomata after the recruit went back to her studies at the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod. “Kailangan talaga ng hard work pagdating ng semis.”

Laoag, on the other hand, survived a do-or-die match for the no. 4 seat in the semifinals by booting out the Lady Maroons, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 26-24, last Monday.

Jovielyn Prado, who scored 19 points against Air Force, Jessica Galanza and Mylene Paat will again lead the Power Smashers’ bid to inch closer to the Finals.     

But Laoag coach Nes Pamilar is not taking Air Force lightly even if they swept the Jet Spikers the last time out.

“Hindi rin natin masasabi kasi mas maraming beterano doon at mas matagal ng buong team yun,” he said.

Game 2 of the semis will be on Saturday at the same venue.

The winner of Laoag-Air Force series will face the survivor between Pocari Sweat and BaliPure in the championship which is also a best-of-three affair.





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