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Angels, Crossovers chase semis slots


Games today:
(FilOil EcoOil Centre)
4 p.m. — Army vs Petro Gazz
6:30 p.m. — Chery Tiggo vs Akari

The mad chase for semifinal seats heats up as Petro Gazz and Chery Tiggo face cellar dwellers in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference today at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Tied at fourth to fifth with identical 3-2 win-loss slates, both the Angels and Crossovers need victories to boost their chances of making it to the Final Four with just six playdates in the elimination round remaining.

Petro Gazz, coming off a huge win last Thursday, crosses paths with winless Army at 4 p.m. while seeing action in the 6:30 p.m. main feature are Chery Tiggo and Akari.

The Angels are on a high following a stunning 25-23, 25-13, 25-23 sweep of F2 Logistics.

The win not only improved Petro Gazz’s semis hopes but also pulled the squad within striking distance from league leaders defending champion Creamline (5-1), PLDT (4-1) and its latest victim (4-2).

The Angels are tipped to have their way against the Lady Troopers who are still in search of the elusive win after five tries.

Army is on a 16-game losing skid overall dating back from its last game in the eliminations of last year’s Invitational Conference.

Petro Gazz head coach Oliver Almadro wants his wards to have the same mindset regardless of whom they are facing.

“I always tell my players to keep on pushing, keep the hustle, and put up the intensity all the time. I told them what we need is to make ourselves, our team, better every day regardless of who’s in front, who we will be playing against,” Almadro said.

“Whatever it is, I just told them to keep on improving every day. I told them to focus on themselves first, fix themselves, fix our team, and always be together. That’s it and they’re delivering,” he added.

“Hopefully, we can carry this momentum against Army. No letting up and we have to push more.”

Heading the pack for the Angels are Jonah Sabete and J Phillips, who dropped 13 points each the last time out, along with veteran lefty Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Remy Palma and all-around hitter Grethcel Soltones.

The Troopers, who will rely on Royse Tubino, Lut Malaluan and Jeanette Villareal, are reeling from a 15-25, 20-25, 12-25, loss to the Cool Smashers last Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Chery Tiggo seeks to bounce back from a 25-17, 11-25, 19-25, 21-25, loss last week at the hands of Creamline.

The trio of Mylene Paat, Shaya Adorador and EJ Laure are out to lead the Crossovers back on the right track against the Chargers who are barely holding on in the semis race.

Sporting a 1-4 slate, Akari is in a must-win situation in all its remaining three assignments.

The Chargers also must pray that teams under Creamline in the standings won’t reach five wins for them to have a slim chance of making it to the next round.

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