By John Bryan Ulanday
LIPA CITY — Heavily-favored Go For Gold-Air Force Aguilas and Team Dasma Monarchs target a gigantic titular showdown when they take on different opponents in the knockout semifinals of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League men’s tournament at the Aquamarine Recreational Center Gym here.
The Monarchs aim to take care of business against the dangerous VNS Manileño Spikers in the main game at 4 p.m. following the collision between the Aguilas and Global Remit at 1:30 p.m.
Both Dasma and Go For Gold-Air Force swept the preliminary matches to top their respective groups and to stay on track of arranging an anticipated finale duel barring upsets from their spirited counterparts.
“There’s pressure on us given the presence of national team players in our team but as I’ve said, all squads here including us started from scratch due to the long hiatus from the pandemic so it will not be easy,” said Go For Gold-Air Force mentor Dante Alinsunurin.
“The real fight begins here. We prepared hard for this in a bid to make the finals and win the title by all means,” said Dasma coach Norman Miguel.
Mr. Miguel will bank on the troika of Mark Calado, Madzlan Gampong and Jayvee Sumagaysay while the Philippine team core of John Vic de Guzman, Kim Malabunga, Mark Alfafara, Jessie Lopez and Francis Saura banner Mr. Alinsunurin’s wards.
Their national teammate Ish Polvorosa, however, will be on the opposite side to lead the Global Remit’s upset bid riding on the momentum of their semis-clinching win the other day.
Meanwhile, Christian Marcelino fired 15 markers as MRT-Negros gained a shot at Sabong International in the battle for fifth place today after sweeping the Basilan Steel Spikers, 25-20, 25-18, 25-20, in the classification match yesterday.
MRT-Negros, which suffered a heartbreaker against Global Remit the other day to miss out on a semis berth, and Sabong International duel at 10 a.m. today.
“We tried our best to make the semis, but we missed the opportunity. It’s a battle of pride for us this time, that’s why we still gave it all,” said coach Ralph Savellano.
The PNVF Champions League is backed by Rebisco, Pitmaster Foundation, Inc., Top Speed, 1Pacman Partylist, Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee as platinum sponsors; F2 Logistics, Asics, PLDT, MVP Sports Foundation and Mikasa as gold sponsors; and BCDA, Philippine Red Cross, Lipa City, Davis Paint and Emerald PVC Pipes, Fittings and Doors as silver sponsors with PNVF godfather, Taguig Rep. Alan Peter S. Cayetano, chairman of the Champions League, giving his full support.