MANILA, Philippines - A souped-up Far Eastern University and Arellano University slug it out for the other semifinal slot in Group 2 today while Davao tries to nail the last Final Four berth against Adamson in Group 1 in crucial quarterfinal matches in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 First Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
With veterans Rachel Ann Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga suiting up as guest players for the Lady Tams for the first time, the Morayta-based squad toppled St. Benilde in three and became an instant contender for the last semis spot in their side of the quarters grouping.
Although Bernadette Pons and Mary Joy Palma still led FEU’s attack with 17 and 12 hits, respectively, Daquis and Gonzaga each scored 10 points and provided the experience and poise needed to dispose of the Lady Blazers and revive their hopes in the season-opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
That tied them with Arellano at second at 1-1 (win-loss), making their 2 p.m. encounter a knockout for the other semis berth in the league backed by Mikasa, Accel and Lion Tiger Mosquito Coil. Defending champion National U clinched the first Final Four seat with a straight-set romp over Arellano last Thursday for a 2-0 slate.
But Arellano, which made quite an impression in the elims by finishing tied for first with Ateneo and Adamson, is expected to bounce back strong from that shutout loss and resume its title drive behind ace hitter Danna Henson, top blocker Cristine Joy Rosario, Menchie Tubiera, Elaine Sagun and setter Angelica Legacion.
The Davao-Adamson face-off at 4 p.m. also promises to be nothing but a fierce encounter with the Agilas needing just a win to formalize their entry into the Final Four and the Lady Falcons hoping to stay in the hunt despite a 0-1 card.
The Agilas stunned the UAAP champion Ateneo Lady Eagles in a pulsating five-setter last Thursday, moving the Mindanao-based squad closer to a dream semis outing for its first very stint in the country’s premier women’s volley league.
“There’s no pressure for us since we have nothing to lose. We’re just enjoying our stint here,” said Davao coach Abet Bernan, who continues to draw big games from Jocemer Tapic, Princess Oliveros, May Agton, Mae Antipuesto and Mary Grace Berte as well as from libero Cherry Ann Balse and setter Reynelen Raterta.
But the Lady Falcons will also be going all-out for a win behind local aces Shiela Pineda and Pau Soriano along with Thai guest player Pacharee Sangmuang, setter Jennifer Macatuno, Mylene Paat and Marleen Cortel.
A win by Adamson will also keep Ateneo in the race although the Lady Eagles must also hope for the UST Tigresses, who took the first semis berth in Group 1 with a 2-0 mark following their straight-set win over the Loyola-based squad last Sunday, to beat Adamson in the final quarters playdate on Thursday.
Adamson, Davao and Ateneo will then finish tied at 1-2.