Army gains semisBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
WITH ACE setter Tina Salak back in the lineup, Philippine Army rediscovered its lethal form to smash Meralco, 25-21, 25-16, 25-18, and formalize its entry to the semifinals of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference yesterday at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
After missing the game against Cagayan Valley last Sunday due to health issues, Salak efficiently orchestrated the Army Women’s attack, leading them to a fourth win in five games.
Salak came up with 22 excellent sets, leaving Mary Jean Balse and Jovelyn Gonzaga to create damage on Meralco’s defense.
“We just returned to our usual game,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman. “It was hard when we didn’t have a reliable setter like Salak.”
Earlier, Philippine Air Force overpowered a listless Navy side, 25-18, 25-8, 25-16, to move up to fourth spot.
Benefiting from the superb work of setter Wendy Semana, Joy Cases and Judy Ann Caballero provided the firepower for the Air Women, who stretched their winning run to three games, after losing their first two matches.
Cases wound up with 18 hits, while Caballejo had 10 points and 10 digs.
Navy suffered its fifth loss in six games but remained on track for the last quarterfinals berth with Philippine National Police and Far Eastern University still winless in the elimination round.
Balse paced Army with 16 hits, including five service aces, while Jovelyn Gonzaga had four blocks, highlighting a 13-point output.
Crowd favorite Rachel Daquis added eight hits, the bulk of which coming in the final set.
Coco Wang and Maureen Penetrante finished with 11 hits apiece for the Power Spikers, who fell to fifth spot with a 3-3 record.