Blaze Spikers try to be back on track

The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 09 2014 08:46 AM | Updated as of Jul 09 2014 04:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Petron tries to check its skid as it winds up its elims campaign against Cignal in the women’s division while Cignal seeks to firm up its hold of No. 2 against winless Via Mare in men’s play of the PLDT Home-Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference volleyball tournament at the Astrodome in Pasay.

The Blaze Spikers swept their first three matches but bowed to the Generika Army and AirAsia sides to drop to No. 4 in the seven-team field. But they hope to bounce back strong in their 2 p.m. duel with the HD Spikers, down in the cellar with a 1-4 mark.

Generika-Army, RC Cola Air Force and AirAsia pace the women’s section with identical 4-2 slates.

But the Lady Troopers and the Raiders are assured of the two outright semifinal berths due to superior points ratio.

Still, expect Petron to go all-out for a win but the same will be Cignal’s battlecry as the HD Spikers try to stay in contention for the last quarters berth against PLDT Home TVolution at 2-4.

“We’re fighting for our lives,” said Cignal coach Sammy Acaylar, who steered the HD Spikers to runner-up finishes in the previous conferences. “But we need to work hard to win in three or four sets. We’ll try to do what the two other teams did to beat Petron but it will be tough.”

Acaylar, for one, noted that they will take advantage of Petron’s weakness in the offensive end, especially with its star rookie, Dindin Santiago, starting to cool down after a hot start.

Santiago, the 6-foot-2 spiker from National University, averaged a shade over 30 points in her first three outings. But in their two losses, she managed to pull off an average of only 17 points, something which Petron coach George Pascua needs to address.

Meanwhile, second round action in the men’s division of the event organized by Sports Core with Solar Sports as official broadcast partner heats up with Systema clashing with Instituto Estetico Manila at 4 p.m. and Cignal taking on Via Mare at 6 p.m.

Cignal guns for its fifth win in seven games against Via Mare, which dropped its first five games in the premier inter-club tournament backed by PLDT Home DSL and backed by Mikasa, Asics, Mueller Tapes, Jinling Sports Equipment, LGR, Bench and Healthway Medical.