(Aquamarine Recreational Center Gym, Lipa, Batangas)
10 a.m. – Sabong International Spikers vs. Team Dasma Monarchs
1:30 p.m. – VNS Manileño Spikers vs. Basilan Steel Spikers
4 p.m. – MRT-Negros vs. Global Remit
LIPA CITY — Go For Gold-Air Force (PAF) punched a ticket to the semifinals with a sweep of pool play following a 25-15, 28-26, 25-20 win over Basilan Steel Spikers in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League men’s tournament at the Aquamarine Recreational Center Gym here.
Living up to expectations as the tournament’s heavy favorites, the national team-heavy Aguilas rose to the occasion and clinched the top seeding in Pool A after also trouncing VNS Manileño Spikers in the opener the other day.
John Vic de Guzman and Mark Alfafara fired 17 and 13 markers, respectively, to anchor the Aguilas, who will face the No. 2 team in Pool B in the crossover semis knockout on Friday.
“We still need to work on our defense, service and reception entering the Final Four. That will set the pace for us moving forward,” said coach Dante Alinsunurin, banking on a core composed of the country’s Southeast Asian Games team in 2019.
Earlier, Team Dasma Monarchs claimed the solo lead in Pool B after smothering MRT-Negros 25-16, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23 behind the troika of Mark Frederick Calado, Madzlan Gampong and Ronniel Rosales.
Calado and Gampong chipped in 13 points each while Rosales added 10 with three blocks as the Monarchs zoomed to a 2-0 card in Pool B entering their last match against Sabong International today.
“We’re happy to be 2-0, but we still have a lot to learn. We can’t relax yet,” said mentor Norman Miguel as his squad aims for the top-seed finish in Pool B after also besting Global Remit the other day.
Negros slid to 1-1 in Pool B heading into a must-win match against Global Remit today while Basilan (0-1) and VNS Manileño (0-1) dispute the last semifinal spot from Pool A.
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. — John Bryan Ulanday