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    Petro Gazz takes on BanKo, Creamline battles Army as PVL semis begin

    Jul 3, 2019
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    ACTION continues in the PVL Reinforced Conference as the best-of-three semifinals start on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan.

    No. 1 team Petro Gazz takes on fourth seed BanKo at 5 p.m. after defending champion Creamline battles third placer Pacifictown-Army in the other semifinal pairing at 3 p.m.

    Riding the crest of the Petro Gazz’s best elimination round finish of 9-1, the Angels seek continue their dominance. They bank on Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson in gunning for their first finals appearance.

    “Going to semifinals iba na rin sana maging mindset ng team para one step na lang sana finals na maging malaking achievement para sa team,” said PetroGazz head coach Arnold Laniog. “Ang gusto kong makita pang umangat yung level of willingness natin and drive to win.”

    Salas averages 21.2 points per match and has a 47 percent success rate in spikes, while Johnson averages 18.3 points with 46.22 percent efficiency including 48.26 percent efficiency in receives.

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    Focus will also be on setter Djanel Cheng, middle blockers Jeanette Panaga and Cherry Nunag and libero Cienne Cruz.

    BanKo, which was swept by PetroGazz in the elimination round, tries to finally get a win over the league leaders.

    Thai coach Apichat Kongsawat leans on clutch spiker Nicole Tiamzon, Sue Roces, Dzi Gervacio, Jem Ferrer, Kathy Bersola and imports Sutadta Chuewulim and Yasemin Yildirim.

    Meanwhile, Creamline looks to move closer to a third straight finals appearance as it faces Pacifictown-Army.

    The second-seeded Cool Smashers, have won nine straight after an opening-day loss and the team led by Thailand’s Kuttika Kaewpin, Venezuela’s Ale Blanco and Alyssa Valdez looks to extend the streak.

    “Very blessed kami as a team kasi everyone really delivers whenever we need them. I’m just happy na kahit sino kunin o bunutin ni Coach, magde-deliver,” Valdez told reporters on Saturday.

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    “Lalong-lalo na pagdating sa semifinals and hopefully finals kasi crucial ang substitution pagdating ng semifinals kasi basang-basa na natin lahat ng tendencies ng mga kalaban.”

    The Lady Troopers will play without head coach Kungfu Reyes, who is in Thailand with the national women’s under-23 team for the 2019 Thailand Sealect Tuna Open Championships.

    Reyes will miss the whole semis series but he is confident that the team is in good hands with his assistants Patricia Torres and Joanne Bunag and imports Olena Lymareva-Flink and Jenelle Jordan.

    “They will play their game even if I’m not around in the semifinals. They are professional players even without a coach they can win a game,” Reyes said. “We’ve been together for 17 years with this team so they know the system.”

    Army also leans on Honey Royse Tubino, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Ging Balse-Pabayo, Nene Bautista and Sarah Jane Gonzales.

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    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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