VNS chases last semis seat

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF Spikers Turf The power-hitting Kim Malabunga of VNS will be a marked man for Army in today’s Spikers Turf Open Conference action at the Paco Arena.

7 days ago

VNS One-Alicia gets one last shot at occupying outright the fourth and last semifinals seat against Army when the elimination round of the Spikers Turf Open Conference ends Tuesday at the Paco Arena in Manila.

Stalled from entering the Final Four the last time out in a four-set loss to PGJC-Navy, the Griffins will try to complete the semis cast when they meet the Troopers in their 2:30 p.m. clash.

Meanwhile, league-leading National University Sta. Elena stakes its unbeaten record when it guns for an elims sweep against archrival defending champion Cignal in a clash of powerhouse teams in the main feature of the triple-bill playdate at 5:30 p.m.

The Sealions and Santa Rosa City will square off at 11:30 a.m.

But all focus will be on the crucial VNS-Army squad as both teams are still in contention for a semis seat.

NU-Sta. Elena, Cignal, and Navy are all through to the next round.

The Griffins hold a 2-3 win-loss record but are also in a three-game losing slump including a sorry 25-19,
18-25, 17-25, 21-25, defeat last Saturday that impeded their semis entry.

Both Army and Santa Rosa carry identical 1-4 cards.

A win by both teams will force a three-way tie at fourth where the two teams with the highest FIVB tiebreak will meet in a playoff for the last semis seat.

The Griffins are very much aware that a loss will put them in a dangerous spot.

“We know what situation we are in. We just need one win to advance and we cannot let that opportunity slip away,” VNS coach Ralph Ocampo said.

Top setter Ish Polvorosa will lead the Griffins’ charge alongside Uriel Mendoza, skipper Benedict San Andres, Kim Malabunga, and Kevin Montemayor against the Troopers, who are on a high after slipping past the young Lions side in five sets last week.

The Nationals, on the other hand, will ride the momentum of their five-game winning romp when they clash with the HD Spikers in a possible championship preview.

NU-Sta. Elena young gun Michaelo Buddin, Nico Almendras, Kennry Malinis, setter Joshua Retamar and 6-foot-6 Congolese newcomer Obed Mukaba are all ready to take on Cignal’s hotshots in all-around ace Marck Espejo, Louie Ramirez, JP Bugaoan and playmaker Owen Suarez.

The HD Spikers, who booted out Ateneo-Fudgee Barr in the semis race in a rebound win, are in a two-way logjam with Navy at second spot with a 4-1 slate.

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