Army, PLDT take Shakey’s V-League semis openers
Defending champion Philippine Army and PLDT Home Ultera hacked out contrasting wins Thursday at the start of the round robin semifinals of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference semifinals at Filoil Flying V Arena.
The Lady Troopers leaned on the solid plays of Honey Royse Tubino in the final set to slip past the Meralco Power Spikers, 25-21, 21-25, 19-25, 25-20, 15-9.
The Ultra Fast Hitters turned back the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, 25-22, 25-14, 25-23, to move within a victory of a finals berth.
Except for a third-set scare, PLDT was hardly troubled with Jaja Santiago leading the team to an eighth straight win in the season-opening tournament.
Coming back after a three game absence, Janine Marciano gave the Rising Suns a 16-11 lead in the third frame but the Ultra Fast Spikers fought back with Santiago and Gretchel Soltones joining forces to bail out PLDT.
Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez, who was not feeling well, struggled to get going for PLDT.
“The explosiveness wasn’t there for Alyssa but the other players stepped up,” said PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb.
Santiago fired 15 points while Soltones added 10 hits for a PLDT side seeking a first finals appearance.
The Lady Troopers rallied from 6-9 down in the fifth set as Tubino sparked a closing 9-0 assault that allowed Army to take the match in two hours and 10 minutes.
“We had to find ways to win because one loss in the semifinals could drop us out of contention,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman.
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