ACTION heats up in the V-League Open Conference after the tough six-team round-robin quarterfinals, with the top two pairs battling in the crossover best-of-three semis starting on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
Unbeaten league leader Cagayan Valley takes on fourth-seeded Philippine Air Force at 5 p.m., after the 3 p.m. match between crowd favorite Smart and Philippine Army.
The Lady Rising Suns hold a 10- win-loss card including wins over the Air Women, but coach Nes Pamilar says he is not taking the Air Force belles lightly.
“Semis na ito eh, back to zero na. Ang Air Force hindi mo naman pwedeng balewalain yan,” said the veteran mentor. “Kaya itutuluy-tuloy lang kami ilalaro ulit namin ang laro namin.”
Pamilar says his former players Joy Cases, Wendy Semana, Jen Manzano and Liza de Ramos, now with the Air Force, could make the difference.
“Apat ng dating players ko na sa kanila na,” he said. “Every game naman kabisado na nila ang ginagawa namin kaya mag-iiba ako ng laro.”
“Ready na kami for semis. Hopefully mabago pa namin ’yung mga mali namin para mag-improve pa sa game,” said skipper Rubie de Leon after the Net Spikers’ 25-20, 23-25, 23-25, 25-12, 15-12 win.
Aside from the hard hitting top local player Alyssa Valdez and Thailand’s Lithawat Kesinee, Smart has tapped another Thai reinforcement in Wanida Kotruang to boost their title bid.