Intense volleyball action heats up as leaders Petron and Philips Gold dispute the top spot in the semifinals when the double-round eliminations of the 2015 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix formally comes to a close Monday at The Arena in San Juan.
Game time is at 4 pm followed by the equally-crucial clash between Cignal and Meralco in the 6 pm main offering of this prestigious women’s inter-club tourney presented by Asics and backed by Milo with Senoh, Mikasa and Mueller as technical sponsors and TV5 as official broadcaster.
Fresh from a straight-set demolition of rival Foton over the weekend, the Blaze Spikers are tagged as the hottest team after blazing their way to five straight victories to occupy the ceiling with a 7-2 win-loss mark.
But the reigning champion is not alone at the top as Philips Gold is also smoking hot after booking a pair of straight-set wins over Meralco and Cignal recently, making their encounter not only entertaining for being the duel between two of the league’s best teams but also highly-crucial as it determines who will assume the top spot in the do-or-die semifinals next week.
“This is going to be a very important game for both teams,” said Petron coach George Pascua. “Although it doesn’t really matter who will be the no. 1 or no. 2 in the semis, both of us want to win to gain enough momentum for the semis. This game should serve as our springboard for tough battles ahead.”
Philips Gold coach Francis Vicente agrees.
“As much as possible we want to avoid Petron in the semis due to their depth and experience,” he said. “But since we are going to face them in the last day of eliminations we are planning to go all out to create a mental note that Petron is also beatable. We just have to work together as a solid team to reach our goal.”
True enough the Lady Slammers sure know that the Blaze Spikers are beatable.
In their first round encounter last Oct. 17, American import Bojana Todorovic was unstoppable in the crucial stretch of the fifth set as she wreaked havoc on both ends before unleashing a fiery backrow attack to seal the heart-stopping 25-20, 21-25, 16-25, 25-22, 15-12 victory for Philips Gold.
Todorovic tallied 13 kills for a total of 25 points while Alexis Olgard and Myla Pablo churned 21 and 20 points, respectively.
“We have to stop their three top scorers,” Pascua said, referring to the Todorovic, Olgard and Pablo, the vastly-improved wing spiker from National University who is making heads turn due to her powerful smashes and consistency on the defensive end.
Pascua stressed that he is looking for a more consistent performance from Aby Marano and Dindin Manabat, who struggled in their previous game. Rachel Anne Daquis, Ces Molina and Brazilian Rupia Inck are also expected to step up while Erica Adachi takes care of the playmaking chore.
Also tipped to draw another massive weekday crowd is the match between Cignal and Meralco in the second game.
The HD Spikers are in dire need of a win to seal their claim on the third spot of the semis.
But it will be easier said than done as they are up against the Power Spikers, who have regained their groove after plucking their first win in nine games via a straight-set triumph over struggling RC Cola-Air Force also last Saturday.
Philips Gold 7-2
RC Cola-Air Force 1-9
(The Arena, San Juan)
4 pm — Philips Gold vs Petron
6 pm –Cignal vs Meralco