Sealions face NU-Sta. Elena

Games today:
(Paco Arena)
2:30 p.m. — NU-Sta. Elena vs PGJC-Navy
5:30 p.m. — VNS vs Cignal

Streaking PGJC-Navy is coming in extra motivated against National University-Sta. Elena on Saturday in the second playdate of the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference semifinals at the Paco Arena in Manila.

The Sealions are looking for payback against the only squad that dealt them a loss in the season-opening tournament and to boost their chances of booking a seat in the Finals.

Game time is at 2:30 p.m. followed by the crucial 5:30 p.m. tussle between VNS One-Alicia and defending champion Cignal.

Greg Dolor and league-leading Jau Umandal showed the way in Navy’s 25-23, 25-22, 25-22, drubbing of the Griffins last Thursday to open the semis on a high note.

The Cecil Cruzada-mentored squad is the only team with an active winning streak, stringing five straight since bowing down to the Nationals in a stinging 25-17, 26-24, 19-25, 24-26, 16-18, defeat last 6 September.

The reason why the Sealions are taking this game a tad personal.

“We were still building our chemistry the last time we faced NU. It will be a different story this time,” Cruzada said.

But exacting revenge on NU-Sta. Elena won’t be an easy task as the Nationals are coming off a morale-boosting come-from-behind payback victory over the HD Spikers, 20-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-10.

The Sealions must find a way to shackle the Nationals’ hitting duo of Nico Almendras and Michaelo Buddin as well as solve the NU-Sta.Elena blocking puzzle anchored on 6-foot-6 Congolese middle Obed Mukaba.

Almendras is fresh from posting a tournament-high 30 points for the Nationals, who sealed the front of the net against Cignal with 15 kill blocks.

“We’re preparing against them the same way we prepared against other teams. We just need to stick with our system and correct the mistakes we committed the last time we faced them,” said NU-Sta. Elena coach Dante Alinsunurin.

Meanwhile, the HD Spikers and VNS desperately need to snatch a win to keep their championship round hopes alive.

The top two teams after the semis will battle in a best-of-three Finals.

Cignal swept the Griffins in straight sets in their elimination round meeting.

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