Kurashiki Ablaze inched closer to claiming the last final seat after eliminating slumping F2 Logistics from contention, 25-20, 25-22, 25-20, in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference semifinals Tuesday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The undefeated Japanese guest club collected its third straight win to come knocking on the door of the gold medal match.
Asaka Tamaru once again led the way for the Ablaze after pounding in all of her 19 points on attacks while Akane Hiraoka posted nine markers.
Saya Taniguchi, Yukino Yano and Kokoro Takio scored seven points each for Kurashiki, which could bag a final berth with a win over PLDT on Thursday.
The Ablaze were able to hold on in the crucial closing stretch of each set, staving off the repeated comeback attempt of the undermanned Cargo Movers, who played sans starting opposite spiker Kim Kianna Dy.
“F2 has tall and quick players. There were a lot of instances that we could’ve lost the set. They also have lots of fans supporting them. It’s good that we showed great performance today,” Kurashiki coach Hideo Suzuki said.
Unbeaten defending champion Creamline occupied the first final seat after sweeping Vietnam’s Kinh Bac-Back Ninh, 25-23, 25-23, 25-17, in the first game. The winner-take-all championship is scheduled Sunday.
The Ablaze’s victory also shut the door on the listless Vietnamese squad and idle Cignal.
The Cargo Movers and HD Spikers are tied with identical 1-3 slates while Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh dropped all of its first three assignments.
Myla Pablo and Majoy Baron finished with 12 points each for F2 Logistics.
Dy was in street clothes while watching at the sidelines, missing action for the second straight match after hurting her right knee in the fourth set of the Cargo Movers’ five-set loss to Creamline last Thursday.
F2 Logistics battles Vietnam on Friday.