DEFENDING champion Philippine Army disposed of Cagayan Valley, 25-23, 26-24, 25-17, to book a return trip to the Shakey's V-League Season 12 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Tuesday.
Jovelyn Gonzaga came with 16 points while Army recruit Honey Royse Tubino proved her worth with 14 points as the Lady Troopers earned the right to meet uinbeaten PLDT Home Ultera in a best-of-three finals starting on Thursday.
Mary Jean Balse and guest playet Dindin Santiago-Manabat combined for 21 markers.
"Yung nangyari kanina 'yun ang gusto naming makita (sa championship) kapag kalaban namin ang PLDT na maganda ang receive," said Army coach Rico de Guzman.
He said the Lady Troopers wavered after building a big lead against Cagayan - something which the coach said they can't afford to do against unbeaten PLDT in the finals.
"Kanina nagloko rin ang mga player ko noong malaki ang lamang namin which is nagko-kompiyansa sila. Parang malaki ang lamang kahit hindi kami mag-receive ng maayos 'yun ang nangyayari sa amin kapag lamang kami ng malaki."
Rosemarie Vargas made 11 points for the Lady Rising Suns, who will now face Meralco in the consolation battle for third place.