MANILA, Philippines – Recap: Just Tuesday, the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference single round eliminations phase will come down to a wild finish, with four teams knocking each other out for the two semifinal berths and the other team attempting to formally advance against a team going all-out to stall its drive.
After the Cool Smashers completed a sweep of Pool A play in the two-group qualifying among 11 teams, only Creamline is guaranteed of a spot in the following round, which will include foreign guest teams from Japan and Vietnam, making the final eliminations playdate a guaranteed scramble for the remaining three semifinal spots.
But out of the five, F2 Logistics seems to be in the lead for the other Pool B spot as it took on a Foton team that was unsuccessful in reaching the semifinals (1 to 3) but is keen to make life difficult for the Cargo Movers and prepare for the Classification round.
They played at midday, with F2 Logistics hoping to put last Thursday’s difficult five-set loss to the Petro Gazz Angels behind them and secure their place in the semifinals of the league’s midseason conference, which is run by Sports Vision.
At 4 p.m., a rebounding Choco Mucho and a cresting Cignal squared off in the following two matches, validating a pair of cliffhangers. For the other spot in Pool B, the HD Spikers will play the Flying Titans for the right to advance. However, while the HD Spikers will enter the match in high spirits after 3-0 victories over Foton and Farm Fresh, the Flying Titans will be exhausted from last Saturday’s grueling but morale-boosting five-set victory over the Angels.
But the diminutive, high-leaping former UST hitter and beach volley stalwart is anticipated to once more take on the HD Spikers with the same force, enthusiasm, and vigor while also serving as the team’s captain and providing leadership for a group that is brimming with talent but essentially deficient in direction and control on the court.
6:30 p.m. Since neither side has a clear advantage over the other, the Pool A matchup between Chery Tiggo and PLDT is similarly a toss-up. Both teams defeated Gerflor in their most recent matchups, despite the fact that the Crossovers’ competitiveness has improved after a shaky beginning.
Coach Aaron Velez’s bench now has the depth it needs to compete with the High-Speed Hitters thanks to rookies Eya Laure, Imee Hernandez, Princess Robles, and setter Joyme Cagande who have gradually gotten along with veterans Mylene Paat, EJ Laure, Cza Carandang, and Ponggay Gaston.
Jovie Prado has been ruled out of the crucial game after suffering a knee injury during PLDT’s encounter against Creamline last Thursday. As a result, while Chery Tiggo will be at full strength for the crucial game, PLDT will have less one-hitters.
PLDT’s top offensive threat Me-an Mendrez has also fluctuated in and out of the lineup, but she is anticipated to suit up and support their effort alongside Dell Palomata, Michelle Morente, Honey Royse Tubino, and captain Mika Reyes, with Fiola Ceballos hoping to build on her impressive 13-point performance against the Defenders in their most recent match.
The Angels, who have a 3 to 2 record and are all but eliminated from contention after last Thursday’s five-set victory over the Cargo Movers, are hoping and praying for Foton to defeat F2 Logistics in order to tie for second place with the winner of the Choco Mucho-Cignal match. The fixed ratio system will be used to break ties.