SMART tries to close in on a quarterfinal berth when it takes on formidable Cagayan Valley today in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference even as Meralco and Far Eastern U try to bounce back at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Toting a 3-0 record, Smart tries to virtually secure a place in the next round with a victory in the 2 p.m. duel.
But Cagayan could be the toughest test yet for coach Roger Gorayeb’s charges who showed signs of vulnerability in their four-set victory over Meralco on Sunday night.
Meralco seeks its second win in the 4 p.m. match against the Lady Tamaraws.
Both Meralco and FEU have played Smart early in the tournament with the latter providing a stiffer challenge.
The Lady Tamaraws dropped a three-setter against Smart on opening day and coach Shaq delos Santos hopes his wards do not get awed playing against a star-studded team like Meralco.
Former Ateneo star Fille Cainglet and ex- La Salle stalwarts Maureen Ouano and Stephanie Mercado are at the forefront of Meralco’s bid along with Coco Wang, who wound up with a team-best 18 points in the four-set loss to Smart.
Cagayan boasts a solid core led by former University of Santo Tomas stars Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo as well as Thai reinforcement Kanika Thipachot.
Tabaquero and Thipachot fired 21 and 20 hits, respectively, as Cagayan debuted with a 25-22, 17-25, 25-14, 25-19 whipping of Air Force.
The emergence of Gretchel Soltones as a top option on attack has been one of the bright spots of Smart’s campaign so far.