Air Force, Army face tough foes in S'Liga

The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 20 2014 08:09 AM | Updated as of Jul 20 2014 04:09 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The road to the title for top seeds Generika-Army and RC Cola-Air Force is expected to be extremely difficult as they have to overcome a pair of hungry squads in the semifinals of the 2014 PLDT Home-Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference volleyball tournament which fires off today at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The reigning champion Lady Troopers collide with AirAsia at 5 p.m. while the Raiders battle PLDT Home TVolution at 3 p.m. for a win that will send them to the finals of the women’s division of this prestigious inter-club tournament supported by PLDT Home DSL and backed by Mikasa, Asics, Mueller Tapes, Jinling Sports Equipment, LGR, Bench and Healthway Medical.

In men’s play, Cignal will tighten its hold of the second spot when it battles Instituto Estetico Manila in the 6 p.m. nightcap of this competition organized by Sports Core with Solar Sports as official broadcast partner.

After opening its campaign with a pair of sorry setbacks, Generika-Army welcomed the return of veteran setter Tina Salak and became invincible, sweeping its next four games to clinch one of the two semifinal berths at the end of the preliminaries.

Salak, who had to attend to her commitments in the military, provided the spark as her leadership and savvy playmaking squeezed out the best from middle hitter Mary Jean Balse, Nene Bautista, Rachel Ann Daquis and the vastly-improved Jovelyn Gonzaga, who delivered the telling blows in their 25-23, 25-23, 25-19 win over Petron.

“I’m glad that we’re already peaking,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman. “But we should not be complacent. Our job is yet to be done. AirAsia is such a dangerous team. They are young and hungry. They are capable of winning over us at any given time.”

De Guzman cited that for them to move to the finals, they have to weather the relentless assaults of skipper Cha Cruz, Michelle Laborte, Stephanie Mercado and Abby Marano while preventing the charming Michelle Gumabao from doing damage, especially after starring in a 16-25, 16-25, 25-16, 25-17, 15-13 victory over Cagayan Valley in the quarterfinals.

Like the Lady Troopers, the Raiders also couldn’t afford to put their guard down, especially after witnessing how the hungry Power Attackers essayed a shocking 16-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-22 victory over erstwhile undefeated Petron in the quarterfinals.