STA. Elena Construction survived a strong Army challenge in the third set and hacked out a 25-17, 25-19, 29-27 victory on Wednesday to clinch the last semifinal berth in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
League scoring leader Berlin Paglinawan had match-best 20 points, including 18 on kills, to help power the Wrecking Balls past the Troopers and into a semifinal duel with the top-seeded Cignal TV HD Spikers.
Sta. Elena romped past Café Lupe at the close of the eliminations to finish tied for fourth with Army at 4-3, forcing a sudden death for the last semis seat.
No. 2 Mega Builders battle defending champion Air Force in the other semifinal.
The opener of the semifinals will be held on Saturday.
In the women’s semifinals, top seed and unbeaten Creamline faces Reinforced Conference runner-up BaliPure while defending champion Pocari Sweat, which also ruled the season-opening tournament, battles third seed Hair Fairy Air Force.
Isaah Arda, Paolo Publico and Israel Encina each chipped in 10 points for the Wrecking Balls, who also beat the Troopers, 25-15, 22-25, 25-21, 25-23, in their elimination-round match.
This time, the Wrecking Balls made sure the match wouldn’t extend to another set.
"The boys were just determined to get the win," said Sta. Elena coach Arnold Laniog.
Paglinawan delivered the clutch hits in the third set when the Troopers hung tough on deuce points before losing steam in the end.