DOES Smart have the answer to stop the Cagayan Valley juggernaut?
The Net Spikers hope so as they start their title clash with the Lady Rising Suns in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference Finals Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
Game One of the best-of-three series is set at 4 p.m.
The Lady Rising Suns have so far steamrolled the tournament by winning all of their 14 games, including a win over Philippine Air Force in the semis that clinched for them the first championship berth.
Cagayan coach Nes Pamilar, however, said the Finals is a different thing altogether.
“Ang sinasabi ko nga sa kanila, alisin na nila sa isip `yung mga panalong `yun. 0-0 na ulit kami,” he said.
“Sana nga magtuluy-tuloy at huwag sila magsawang mag-laro.”
Now the Lady Rising Suns face a Net Spikers side which had gotten a big boost following the surprise addition of National University stalwart Dindin Santiago.
The lanky player suited up for Smart in its sudden-death game against Philippine Army on Sunday and was instrumental in the 21-25, 25-20, 25-13, 21-25, 15-10 win for a shot against the Lady Rising Suns in the Finals.
Santiago played her first game with the team after being given clearance by her school to see action.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa NU pinayagan nila `yung bata,” said Smart coach Roger Gorayeb. “Sana payagan ulit siya pero sa ngayon, hindi ko pa alam kasi para rin sa bata `yun at malaki rin ang tulong niya sa team.”
Still, the veteran mentor said the Net Spikers will be ready in case the 6-foot-2 spike won’t be available for the team in the title series.
“Pero maghahanda pa rin kami sakaling hindi siya payagan,” Gorayeb said.
Meanwhile, Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force also start their own best-of-three series for third place at 2 p.m.