10:30 a.m.-- IEM vs Champion (3rd Place)
12:30 p.m. --PAF vs Cignal (Finals, Game 2)
4 p.m. --BaliPure vs UST (3rd Place)
6 p.m.-- Pocari Sweat vs BOC (Finals, Game 1)
CROSSING paths against her familiar foes Michelle Gumabao and Melissa Gohing once more, Alyssa Valdez hopes to finally pull one off when her Bureau of Customs face off Pocari Sweat for the Shakey's V-League Reinforced Conference crown starting tomorrow.
Dating back to their UAAP days, Gumabao and Gohing, then playing for La Salle, foiled Valdez twice in Ateneo's first two championship appearances in the league.
In the Open Conference last June, Valdez tried to steer BaliPure to a Finals stint right on its first try, but was stymied once more by Gumabao and Gohing, who were also key players in the Lady Warriors' title run in the season-opening conference.
“Hindi pa rin naman nagbabago sila Michelle and Mel, their still great players and iba talaga ‘yung competitive spirit nila,” said Valdez.
Teaming up with Thai guest player Kanjana Kuthaisong, Valdez powered the Transformers to a 25-21, 25-16, 24-26, 8-25, 15-8 win over the Water Defenders in the semifinals decider Wednesday night at the Philsports Arena.
“I think na we received well lalo na noong fifth set. BaliPure is such a strong team, kilala ko sila kasi most of them were my teammates so alam kong babawi talaga sila,” said Valdez after Customs prevailed in the best-of-three series, 2-1.
“I knew that we needed to start strong, keep playing strong, and finish stronger,” she added.
Kuthaisong took the scoring mantle for the Transformers with 20 points, while Valdez added 16 hits and 17 digs.
Customs and Pocari Sweat, which swept University of Santo Tomas in the other semis pairing, open their best-of-three series at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the same Pasig venue.
“For sure, it’s going to be a great series between our teams,” said Valdez, who is hoping to end the year with a championship for the Transformers after her recent failures for the Lady Eagles in the UAAP and the Water Defenders in the Open Conference.
It was another heartbreaking campaign for BaliPure, which made this far despite losing ace hitters Valdez, Gretchel Soltones and Janine Marciano.
The Water Defenders, who will take on the Tigresses for the bronze medal, are now 0-4 in close out games in the semifinals, as they failed to sustain their 1-0 series lead just like what happpened in the Open Conference against the Lady Warriors.