Army and Smart-Maynilad face off today in what could be a preview of the Final Four protagonists in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
Although second-running Army still has a shot at the No. 1 spot in the semis with a 9-1 card, it must however beat two tough rivals, including unbeaten Cagayan Province in the final quarters playdate on Sunday.
But the Army Women must first hurdle the Net Spikers in their 4 p.m. encounter with the latter also going flat out not only to get back at their elimination round tormentors but also to gain momentum and confidence heading to the semis.
The No. 1 team will take on the No. 4 squad while the Nos. 2 and 3 will dispute the other finals berths in a pair of best-of-three semis series.
Cagayan (11-0) is one win away from sweeping the elims and the quarters but still faces a tougher opponent in Army in its last match.
Smart-Maynilad is in third with a 6-4 card and is eyeing a sweep of its last two games to clinch No. 3. Air Force is at 6-5 and could force a tie for third with a victory over ousted Phl National Police on Sunday coupled with a loss by Smart.
Army nipped Smart-Maynilad in five last Sept. 15 with Jovelyn Gonzaga, MJ Balse, Michelle Carolino and Nene Bautista combining. Rachel Anne Daquis just saw action in the last two sets but is expected to start today to guarantee a strong start for the Army Women.
Despite coming off a loss the last time out, Smart-Maynilad nearly dealt Cagayan its first loss but failed to sustain a big win in the fourth set and dropped a 21-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-17, 13-15 setback last Tuesday.
But the Net Spikers are expected to pour it all out against the Army Women behind Alyssa Valdez, Thai Lithawat Kesinee, Maru Banaticla, Gretchel Soltones and Sue Roces, ensuring an explosive showdown between two of the star-studded teams in the league sponsored by Shakey’s.
PNP and Meralco clash in a duel of ousted teams at 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Air Force-Meralco duel last Tuesday will be shown on GMA News TV Channel 11 today (Friday) starting at 1 p.m.while the PNP-Meralco clash and the Smart-Army showdown will be aired tomorrow and Monday, respectively, according to the organizing Sports Vision.