BANKO braces for a tough three-game stretch against strong teams, which could affect its semifinals fate in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference.
After winning seven of their nine games to tie the Creamline Cool Smashers at second place, the Perlas Spikers are moving closer to disputing a semis seat but they are facing a tall order against three strong contenders over the weekend and on Wednesday.
BanKo takes on top seed Ateneo-Motolite, which holds a conference-best 9-2 win-loss record, on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center and in less than 24 hours after its match, the Perlas Spikers battle fourth placers Petro Gazz Angels (5-4) on Sunday, 6:30 p.m., back at the Arena in San Juan City.
And on Wednesday, BanKo faces Pocari Sweat-Air Force (5-5) at the same venue in San Juan.
Perlas Spikers head coach Dong Dela Cruz insisted that those three matches could be the turning point of their conference as a sweep of all those games would secure them a semis berth - or winning at least two will assure a playoff.
“Malaking bagay yun at least makakuha sana kami ng dalawang panalo doon para masolidify namin yung position namin sa top four,” Dela Cruz said. “Mas maganda kasi kung nasa top ka, nasa one and two ka, mas maganda morale ng mga players. Ang (goal) lang namin talaga makapunta sa top four tas kung sino kalaban paghahandaan namin.”
The BanKo coach, whose wards utilized their one week rest focusing on strength and conditioning and scouting their foes, stressed that it won’t be a walk in a park facing those three teams like Ateneo-Motolite, which eyes to seal its semis slot, while Petro Gazz and Pocari hoping to boost their Final Four chances.
“Malakas kasi yung tatlong yun, Ateneo, Petro Gazz tsaka Pocari makakabangga namin mahirap kalaban yun,” he said. “Mga nangangailangan din ng panalo yun kaya mahirap din na laban yun.”
Nicole Tiamzon agreed that this stretch is very crucial for them but she and her teammates Dzi Gervacio, Sue Roces, Kathy Bersola, Jem Ferrer, Amanda Villanueva and Joy Dacoron are ready to work their way to secure the semis ticket.
“Napakaimportante kasi kailangan i-sustain kung ano man yung nakukuha naming win ngayon. Pukpukan to so we can’t afford na magrelax kasi sabi nila pag second round talagang doon lumalabas lahat, doon nagpipeak lahat ng teams,” Tiamzon said. “Mabigat talaga lahat ng teams sabi nga namin walang magpapatalo agad agad diyan. Kailangan paghirapan per point talaga so talagang matira matibay yung labanan.”