CAGAYAN Valley comes off a 12-day break and eyes an outright semifinals berth in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference as it battles Philippine Air Force Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Lady Rising Suns are seeing action in their first quarterfinal game in the 2 p.m. match after coming fresh from Thailand where they competed in the 17th Asian Volleyball Championship along with coach Nes Pamilar.
Pamilar said his team used the stint as part of its preparation for the V-League playoffs after finishing the elimination round unbeaten in seven games.
Unfortunately, Cagayan will be going in its match-up against Air Force with three of its mainstays nursing injuries.
“Nakapag-prepare naman kami kaya lang injured si (Angge) Tabaquero, si (Joy) Benito, at si (Rose Marie) Vargas,” he said of the three players who suited up for the national team.
Still, the national coach is confident the rest of the Lady Rising Suns will step up against the Air Women.
“Alam ko naman mag-step-up sila,” said Pamilar. “Makakapaglaro naman sina Tabaquero pero hindi 'yung hundred percent na kagaya noong eliminations.”
Air Force, which bowed to Smart, 23-25, 25-22, 15-25, 18-25, on Sunday, tries to bounce back from the four-set loss, and on its 5-3 record.
Like Cagayan Province, second running Philippine Army also tries to formalize its entry to the semis with a win over Meralco at 4 p.m.
The Lady Troopers are just half a game behind Cagayan at 7-1, while Meralco is right in the middle of the pack with a 3-4 card.
Army coach Rico de Guzman said key in beating the Power Spikers is for the Lady Troopers to have a good start.
“Lagi ko pinapaalala sa kanila na ipagpatuloy ang nasimulan na magandang blocking at floor defense at 'wag iisipin na mahina ang kalaban, laruin nila 'yung talagang laro nila,” he said.