NOW with five wins, two losses, and 16 accumulated points and still a game left to play, PLDT has the highest chance of securing the last seat in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference semifinals.
But even if the odds are in their favor, head coach Rald Ricafort said the High Speed Hitters are focusing more on plugging holes in their game than on catching the last bus to the playoffs.
"Hindi naman namin masyadong iniisip [yung semis] kasi nga magulo. Ayoko rin isipin, mai-stress lang ako," he said after PLDT beat Cignal on Saturday to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Creamline.
The High Speed Hitters need to beat also-ran Choco Mucho in the final playdate of the eliminations on Thursday at the PhilSports Arena to join F2 Logistics, Petro Gazz, and Creamline in the playoffs.
But even if PLDT gets there, Ricafort said his team can't do well unless they resolve the problems that plagued their game, leading to their first straight-sets loss this conference at the hands of the defending champions.
"Ang amin lang, kung papalarin [na] makapasok sa semis, ma-polish yung dapat mapolish sa side namin," he shared.
Specifically, Ricafort demands more from his wing spikers who were held to a combined 22 points in the 20-25, 21-25, 17-25 loss to Creamline.
Jovielyn Prado scored only seven points on four attacks while Mean Mendrez, who was averaging 12.6 points through five games, only tallied three markers against the Cool Smashers.
The situation could've been worse for PLDT had opposite spiker Mich Morente not stepped up with 12 points on seven attacks, four blocks, and an ace.
"Kailangan namin itaas lalo sa mga wings namin – [si] Mean [Mendrez], Jov [Prado]. 'Yun talaga yung nagiging labanan ngayong conference, patibayan talaga ng wings," he said.
"Yung mga middles naman, andiyan naman 'yan medyo consistent sa amin pero para mag-level up talaga kami, talagang every game pataas yung ine-expect ko [kay Mean and Jov]."