Griffins eye last semis slot vs Sealions

Griffins eye last semis slot vs Sealions

Games Saturday

2:30 p.m. – VNS vs Navy
5:30 p.m. – Ateneo vs NU-Sta. Elena

MANILA, Philippines – VNS-One Alicia sets out for an all-important match leading to its semifinal drive but faces a team coming off a key reversal as the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference heads to its last two elims playdates at the Paco Arena in Manila Saturday.

The Griffins seek not only to snap a two-game skid but more importantly a win over the Navy Sealions that would clinch them the fourth semis berth and slam the door shut on the three other bidders for the last slot.

But given Navy’s shock four-set victory over the Cignal last Tuesday coupled with the VNS’ losses to the back-to-back defending champion HD Spikers and the Sta. Elena Nationals, the Griffins will have a lot of working to do to stop the Sealions in their 2:30 p.m. clash.

Still, coach Ralph Ocampo is hopeful to draw the best from his crew made up of Kevin Montemayor, Kim Malabunga, Ben San Andres, Ron Adviento, Uriel Mendoza and playmaker Ish Polvorosa and notch the semis-clinching win.

But the Sealions aren’t likely to slow down despite being assured of a semis seat with a 3-1 card, even focusing on sweeping their last two elims games for the needed momentum and confidence in the cutthroat Final Four phase.

The crisp-hitting Joshua Umandal, Peter Quiel, Christian Marcelino and Greg Dolor, who combined for 53 points against the HD Spikers, are again tipped to deliver for coach Cecil Cruzad while the rest brace for a stiff challenge from the Griffins.

Despite the setback, the HD Spikers moved to the semis with a three-set win over the Eagles Thursday for a 4-1 card.

Meanwhile, the National University-Sta. Elena shoots for its fifth straight victory against the back-to-the-wall Ateneo-Fudgee Barr side at 5:30 p.m.

The Eagles, along with the Santa Rosa City Lions and the Army Troopers, must win their respective last elims games and hope that the Griffins would drop their last two to force a playoff for the last semis slot.

Ateneo, Santa Rosa and Army tote identical 1-4 slates but the Troopers look to have the likely chance to live another match. They will face the Griffins at the close of the elims Tuesday with the City Lions taking on the Sealions.

Matches are aired on One Sports and One Sports+ and the league’s official website http://spikersturf.ph/live.



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