GENERIKA-Army guns to keep the crown in its barracks, while RC Cola-Air Force aim high to end the Lady Troopers’ reign as they battle in the do-or-die Finals of the Philippine Super Liga All Filipino Conference at Cuneta Astrodome on Saturday.
Experience against youth as Army and its virtual nemesis Air Force will battle at 5:30 p.m.
Trying to bag their third title, the much older Lady Troopers will rely on Ging Balse, Nene Bautista and veteran setter Tina Salak along with national team members Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga.
“Kung meron man team na makakapantay sa amin,Air Force ‘yun,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman.
“Kilalang-kilala na nila kami, nagkakalaban kami sa AFP Olympics at masasabi kong alam na nila ang weaknesses namin,” he added.
In the elimination round, the Lady Troopers hacked out a, 25-21, 27-29, 25-20, 25-21, win against the raiders but the one-game Final showdown will be a different ballgame as PLS Grand Prix cellar dweller RC Cola is out to claim the title.
From their sixth place finish in the last conference, the Raiders had a total revamp from the head coach to the players.
RC Cola became a force to reckon with in the PSL with the inclusion of former University of Santo Tomas standouts Maika Ortiz, Judy Ann Caballejo and Rhea Dimaculangan, together with Joy Cases and Iari Yongco, and head coach Clarence Esteban, who played with de Guzman for UST 15 years ago.
“Kilala ko si Rico, alam kong depensa ang magiging focus niya sa championship,” said Esteban.
The outspoken Air Force mentor also pinpointed Army’s edge over them but he believed that the pressure is on the Lady Troopers.
“Experienced na sila, ‘yung sa aking mga galing pa lang ng eskwelahan, sila mga national team pa. Sila kahit tambakan mo ng malayo di nara-rattle, sa amin tambakan mo maninigas na,” said Esteban.
“Pero wala sa akin ang pressure, galing ang team ko sa sixth place (last conference), kung san a-achieve lang, may na-achieve na kami kasi umangat na placing naming eh,” he added.
In the men’s play, the Air Force-powered PLDT Home TVolution aims to finish the tournament on a perfect record as it faces Cignal in the win-or-go-home men’s Finals at 3:30p.m.
The Power Attackers, who finished the elimination round with an 8-0 slate, will come out even stronger behind national team players Ranran Abdilla, JP Torres and Jeffrey Malabanan together with Ron Jay Galang and Rodolfo Labrador.
PLDT coach Jasper Jimenez knows that all eyes will be on them but he assures that they will perfect their strengths and work double time on their weaknesses.
“Kung sila (Cignal) pinaghahandaan kami, kami rin mas paghahandaan naming sila at sana tama na humingi ng tulong sa amin sa Air Force ang PLDT para maretain namin ang championship,” said Jimenez.
Cignal, on the other hand, believes that with hard work and total team effort they will beat the unbeaten team.
“Mahirap silang talunin but with collective effort nothing is impossible,” said Cignal coach Macky Carino.
Meanwhile, AirAsia and PLDT will face each other for the third place in the women’s division at 1:30 p.m.