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Pocari, BaliPure clash

Air Force, Laoag in other best-of-3 semis.

Air Force tries to ride on the crest of its recent victory even as fancied teams Pocari Sweat and BaliPure collide today’s at the start of the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference semifinals at The Arena in San Juan.

The Lady Jet Spikers clash with the Laoag Power Smashers at 4 p.m., while the Lady Warriors and the Water Defenders square off at 6 p.m., with all four teams hoping to draw first blood in their respective best-of-three affairs.

Air Force emerged as the top seed in the round following their morale-boosting 20-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-15 victory over Pocari two days back that foiled the latter’s bid of an elims sweep.

Air Force Coach Jasper Jimenez will continue to lean on its core of veteran players Judy Caballejo, Jocemer Tapic and Joy Cases, who stepped up in their crucial encounter with Pocari.

The deadly trio conspired with 48 points, with Cases and Tapic torching the net with a combined 27 kills.

But Laoag, which booked the last semis ticket at the expense of University of the Philippines last Monday, remains as lethal as the last time they saw each other.

It can be reounted that Air Force’s only elims loss came from Laoag, 25-14, 25-23, 25-23, last June 11.

Laoag Coach Nes Pamilar, a multi-titled mentor, will cast his eyes on Jovelyn Prado, Mylene Paat and Jessica Galanza to lead the charge.

Equally exciting is the BaliPure-Pocari match-up, which drew almost 3,000 spectators at the Philsports Arena last Saturday.

While Pocari is fancied on this match-up owing to its epic 21-25, 6-25, 26-24, 27-25, 19-17, the Lady Warriors are fresh from a stinging loss to Air Force that cost them the No. 1 seeding.

Skipper Michele Gumabao said the defeat serves as a wake-up call to her team to be consistent at all times and hopes that they can quickly bounce back with Elaine Kasilag, Myla Pablo and Melissa Gohing in front of their attack.

BaliPure, meanwhile, will continue to rely on the dynamic duo of Alyssa Valdez and Gretchel Soltones, with Dzi Gervacio and Amy Ahomiro providing back-up.