In-form UP Lady Maroons, Army gun for playoff for V-League semifinal berth
The UP Lady Maroons have won back-to-back games. Dante Peralta

ARMY and University of the Philippines take on separate rivals on Saturday, both eyeing a third straight victory and a playoff for the last semifinal berth in the Shakey's V-League Season 12-Reinforced Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Lady Troopers, who swept Kia Forte and survived the PLDT Home Ultra Fast Hitters in five to share the lead with the Lady Maroons, clash with the resurgent Navy Lady Sailors in the main 5 p.m. match of the first triple-bill in the season-ending conference.

UP, enjoying top form with back-to-back wins over Navy and Coast Guard, battles PLDT Home Ultera in the 12:45 p.m. opener to be shown live on GMA News TV Channel 11.

Kia Forte and Coast Guard clash in the 3 p.m. duel of winless teams with the winner staying in the semifinal hunt and the loser bowing out early in the tournament presented by PLDT Home Ultera and backed by Mikasa and Accel.

Former Adamson stalwart Shiela Pineda, Alexa Micek, National U mainstay Carmina Aganon, veteran campaigner Wenneth Eulalio, Alyssa Layug and setter Relea Sael hope to bounce back from a pair of shutout losses as they try to extend newcomer Kia Forte’s season against the Lady Dolphins, down in the cellar with three 0-3 losses.

The Lady Troopers, meanwhile, are expected to ride on their thrilling five-set escape over the PLDT Ultra Fast Hitters as they gun for win No. 3 against the Lady Sailors, who rebounded from their meltdown loss to the Lady Maroons with emphatic victories over the Dolphins and Kia Forte.

But Navy’s Lilet Mabbayad and Pau Soriano, currently two of the league’s leading scorers, Hezzymie Acuña, Norie Diaz, May Genido and setter Janet Serafica will be hard-pressed to dish out a more solid game against the star-studded Army crew composed of Jovelyn Gonzaga, Aby Maraño, Nerissa Bautista, Honey Royse Tubino and ace playmaker Tina Salak.

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UP, with its rookie but talent-laden roster, will be as much tested as the Lady Maroons face a fired PLDT crew out to get back on track following that five-set loss to Army.

PLDT top hitter Alyssa Valdez remains a doubtful starter but the likes of Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Janine Marciano, Sue Roces, Rysabelle Devanadera, Laurence Ann Latigay and Gretchel Soltones could be too much of a challenge for Isabel Molde, Nicole Tiamzon, Justine Dorog, Alisa Buitre, Sheena Chopitea, Diana Carlos and Katherine Bersola.

Meanwhile, the league takes a break on Sunday to give way to the nation’s observance of All Saints Day with action to resume on November 7 with action in the men’s Spikers’ Turf to resume on November 4, according to the organizing Sports Vision.

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