Army one win away from V-League finals after downing Air Force in opener of best-of-three semis
Army spiker Jovelyn Gonzaga is also looking to book her second straight V-League finals appearance along with Rachel Anne Daquis. Dante Peralta

PHILIPPINE Army is one win away from another finals appearance after scoring a 26-24, 25-19, 25-20, 25-19, win over archrival Air Force on Thursday in opener of their V-League Open Conference best-of-three semifinal showdown at The Arena in San Juan.

Looking to score twin titles after ruling the Philippine Super Liga All Filipino Conference last month, the Lady Troopers recovered from the surprising first set loss to close out the match in four in a little over two hours.

Army also moved a step closer to its first V-League Open crown since ruling the event in Season Eight.

Reigning MVP Jovelyn Gonzaga led the Lady Troopers with 18 points, while Ginie Sabas added 14.

Ging Balse added 13 points, Nene Bautista chipped in with 11 and Joanne Bunag came off the bench to score 10.

The Army quickly recovered from a first-set slipup and in the fourth pulled away from 16-all with an 8-2 run, including four back-to-back spikes from Sabas, to move to match point.

"Isang panalo na lang pero kailangan pa mag trabaho," said Army coach Rico de Guzman.

The Lady Troopers mentor was pleased to see Sabas and Bunag step up as top hitter Rachel Anne Daquis wasn’t feeling very well and played only in the first two sets, scoring four points.

“Sina Sabas at Bunag nag step up talaga sila ngayon na wala si Rachel,” he said. “Pagod kasi siya and kulang sa tulog kaya ayun.”

Army also defeated Air Force in the Philippine Super Liga for the title match in July.

Judy Ann Caballejo came up with 16 points for Air Force, while May Ann Pantino and Maika Ortiz wound up with 15 and 11 markers, respectively.

Gonzaga and Daquis are also looking to book their second straight finals appearance after being tapped as FEU reinforcements and leading the Lady Tamaraws to the title in the First Conference.

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