DEFENDING champion Cagayan Valley opens its best-of-three semifinals campaign against a team which it has never beaten in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Thursday.
The Lady Rising Suns clash with PLDT Home Telpad in the main game at 4 p.m., looking to break their losing spell after the Power Attackers swept them in two of their head-to-head match-up this conference.
The reigning champion lost to PLDT both in the eliminations, 25-23, 25-23, 25-21, and in the quarterfinals, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22.
“Never pa kami nanalo sa PLDT at puro straight sets pa. Dito sa semis, we make it to a point na hindi na kami magpapatalo ng basta-basta. Ta-trabahuhin na namin, kung kaya maka-una, gagawin na namin,” said Cagayan team captain Angge Tabaquero.
Aside from Tabaquero, the Lady Rising Suns will rely on Aiza Maizo, who has been leading the team in scoring during the quarterfinals with averages of 17.8 points.
The other half of the semifinals pairing pits top seed Philippine Army against military rival Philippine Air Force.
The two teams battle it out in the curtain raiser at 2 p.m.
Maika Ortiz, Judy Ann Caballejo, Mary Ann Pantino, and Joy Cases are expected to take charge for the Air Spikers, who beat the Ateneo Lady Eagles in a sudden-death for the last semifinals berth, 25-20, 25-22, 25-22.
The Lady Troopers on the other hand, will have the ever reliable Rachel Anne Daquis, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Nene Bautista, Ging Balse, and Tina Salak on their side.
Air Force coach Clarence Esteban however, downplay the rivalry between the two military teams, saying it’s more pride that is at stake in their own semifinals series.
“Pride na lang kasi magkaiba naman kami ng branch of service, pero siyempre AFP pa rin naman kami,” he said. “Ayaw ko naman isipin ng mga tao na pag sinabing Air Force-Army, pruo giyera lang ang alam. May sports din naman.”