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    Smart, Army in sudden death match for berth in Open Conference finals

    Oct 12, 2013
    Charo Soriano and the Net Spikers battle Cristina Salak and the Lady Troopers one more time for a place in the finals. Dante Peralta

    PHILIPPINE Army and Smart clash in a sudden death match on Sunday for a finals ticket in the Shakey's V-League Season 10 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan.

    The Lady Troopers forced the rubber-match against the Net Spikers with a tough five-set win on Friday, but Army coach Rico de Guzman is confident after gaining the momentum that he is eyeing a quick straight-sets win in the do-or-die match set at 4 p.m.

    He hopes the Lady Troopers would come up with their toughest defense, especially on the Net Spikers' ace player Alyssa Valdez and Thai reinforcements Lithawat Kesinee and Wanida Kotruang.

    "Kailangan namin i-penetrate ang blocking, lalo na kina Valdez at sa dalawang import nila," said De Guzman. "Kung kayang kunin ng straight sets kukunin na namin ng straight sets."

    "Game Three na 'to, tibay ng dibdib at tapang na ang labanan wala nang susuko sa amin," he said.

    Crowd favorite Smart, meanwhile, hopes to avoid the same mistakes after taking control in the third set, 25-21, 18-25, 12-25, only to fall two consecutive sets 25-23, 15-10.

    Smart coach Roger Gorayeb says the players struggled to communicate with new import Kotruang, who arrived in the country only on Thursday, but he is confident they can make the adjustments in time for the rubber match.

    "Nahihirapan kasi sila mag-communicate doon sa bagong import, si Kesinee lang nakakausap niya," he said.

    Cagayan Valley booked the first seat in the finals with a 27-25, 25-19, 25-15 win over the Air Force.

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    Charo Soriano and the Net Spikers battle Cristina Salak and the Lady Troopers one more time for a place in the finals. Dante Peralta
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