MANILA, Philippines - Army tries to recover lost grounds as it clashes with Ateneo today, looking for a victory and a share of the top spot with newcomer PLDT Home Telpad heading to the quarterfinal round of the Shakey’s V-League Season II Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan yesterday.
The Lady Troopers saw their five-game win run snap with a four-set defeat to the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns last Thursday but the fancied Season 8 champions are tipped to get back on the winning trail again in their 4 p.m. encounter with the struggling Lady Eagles.
Ateneo, the reigning UAAP champion, has struggled with three losses against two wins, even needing five sets to edge the winless UP Lady Maroons last July 20. Top spiker Alyssa Valdez continues to lord it over the field in scoring, norming 25 hits, including two aces and two blocks, but couldn’t do it all for the Lady Eagles with the rest failing to step up big.
Miren Gequillana did score 13 points and Michelle Morente and Bea de Leon combine for 15 markers but the Katipunan-based squad still dropped a four-setter to the National U side last Sunday.
The Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, hope to sustain her form as they take on the Air Force Raiders in the 2 p.m. opener with the winner taking solo four at 4-3 at the end of the single round elims of the mid-season conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s and backed by Mikasa and Accel.
Jaja Santiago, No. 2 in scoring with a 17-hit clip, Myla Pablo and Jane Mandapat are expected to slug it out on the net with Air Force’s Maika Ortiz, Joy Cases, Judy Caballejo and Iari Yongco in what promises to be close duel between two of the league’s title contenders.
With just two playdates left in the elims, a three-way tie for first among PLDT Home Telpad, Cagayan Valley and Army loom, guaranteeing a slambang battle in the six-team quarters phase.
But Army needs to get past Ateneo and the Rising Suns hope to pounce on the Lady Eagles at the close of the elims on Thursday to force a three-way tie for first.