MANILA, Philippines - With three victories each and with power-packed rosters, Army and newcomer PLDT Home Telpad appear to have edge over the rest of the field in the spirited chase for the Shakey’s V-League Season II Open Conference crown.
Both disposed of their respective first three rivals in smashing fashion with the Lady Troopers, wiinners here in Season 8, beating the UP Lady Maroons and National U Lady Bulldogs in straight sets and title contender the Air Force Raiders in four.
The Turbo Boosters, on the other hand, proved to be more impressive, sweeping the Lady Maroons, the Ateneo Lady Eagles and the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, who posted a record 16-game sweep to capture the crown last year.
They brace for their keenly awaited clash on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan with a promise of an explosive duel between two of the most fancied squads in the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
In manpower, they are just about even with Army coach Rico de Guzman boasting of the talented foursome of Rachel Ann Daquis, Jovelyn Gonzaga and former MVPs MJ Balse and Nene Bautista and coach Roger Gorayeb of PLDT Home Telpad parading Gretchel Soltones, Laurence Ann Latigay,Angela Benting, Charo Soriano and Suzanne Roces, also a former MVP in the league where it all started.
PLDT actually has two more ace players in Dindin Santiago and Abby Maraño, who, however, have yet to suit up for the team with ace setter Rubie de Leon anchoring the team along with Ryzabelle Devanadera, Carmina Aganon, Des Patilano, and liberos Lislee Ann Pantone and Alyssa Eroa.
Army also has a talented playmaker in Tina Salak and a crack backup in Ginie Sabas, Sarah Jane Gonzales, Patricia Torres, Joanne Bunag, Jacqueline Alarca, Ma. Theresa Iratay, Michelle Carolino and Dahlia Cruz.
Still, a host of others will be out to foil the projected Army-PLDT duel with Air Force just behind the joint leaders with a 3-1 card and Cagayan raring to bounce back and get a shot at another crown in the mid-season conference of the league backed by Mikasa and Accel.
Meanwhile, the league takes a break today and will resume Tuesday with PLDT Home Telpad clashing with Philippine National Police and Cagayan Valley tangling with National U, according to the organizing Sports Vision.