PLDT aims to stay ahead

Games today:
(FilOil EcoOil Arena)
2:30 p.m. — Army vs Creamline
5:30 p.m. — Cignal vs PLDT

PLDT will gun for its second straight win when it battles Cignal in the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference today at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Game time is at 5:30 p.m. with the High-Speed Hitters looking for a fitting follow-up to their masterful victory over Army Black Mamba in the semifinal opener last Tuesday.

In the first game at 2:30 p.m. the Lady Troopers aim to storm back when they battle dangerous Creamline in their second semifinal encounter.

PLDT has been playing splendid volleyball in the crucial stretch of this professional women's tourney.

Against Army, PLDT was at its best as it uncorked a strong start and a stronger finish en route to a 25-22, 25-18, 25-21 victory.

"Yes, we're confident but we can't relax," said ace playmaker Rhea Dimaculangan, whose 24-excellent set performance steered the High-Speed Hitters to the easy victory.

Like Dimaculangan, PLDT coach George Pascua also opted to downplay their surge, saying: "We're taking it step-by-step, one game at a time until we reach our goal. At least, little by little, we're getting there. We just have to be consistent to be able to sustain our run."

He also spoke of the need for timing, referring to key substitutions in the crucial stages like what he did when he put in Joy Soyud and Wendy Semana in the third set that saw the two delivering a point apiece, both clutch hits.

"I always tell them that when you are given an opportunity, you have to contribute. One point is a big thing," Pascua added.

But he would need to draw more outputs, not just from Soyud and Semana, but also from his starters to score a repeat over a Cignal side raring to make up for its Open Conference meltdown with a strong semifinal drive in this Invitational.

But Mika Reyes has stepped up, in blocking and quick attacks, along with Dell Palomata and Fiola Ceballos with Jules Samonte expected to put up a more explosive performance to help sustain the High Speed Hitters' drive for a third championship appearance.

The HD spikers, however, dropped their last game to the High Speed Hitters partly due to their depleted roster as coach Shaq delos Santos rested some of his starters for the tough semifinal battle.

Expected to come out fresh in today's key match are Rachel Anne Daquis, Chay Troncoso, Roselyn Doria and Arielle Estranero.

Top hitter Ces Molina, however, remains a doubtful starter with an ankle sprain.

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