MANILA, Philippines — Smart-Army shoots for the first quarterfinals berth in Pool B as it faces lowly UE-Cherrylume even as unbeaten Cignal tests the national team’s mettle in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference at the Imus Sports Center in Cavite today.
The Giga Hitters set out as the top favorites against the Iron Lady Warriors in their 7 p.m. duel, seeking to close out their preliminary round stint with a 3-1 card. But the Lady Warriors also go all out to foil their bid in pursuit of their first win in four games.
Meanwhile, the Asian Games-bound national team battles Cignal at 2 p.m. in the first of three matches scheduled in the day.
The Nationals, however, will miss Jaja Santiago, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Maika Ortiz and CJ Rosario, who led the depleted nine-woman team past Cocolife, 25-13, 25-17, 25-11, last Saturday.
The four stars will be playing for their mother club, Foton, which is out to end its preliminary round with a win in Pool A against UP-United Auctioneers (0-2) at 4:15 p.m.
Expected to anchor the national team’s bid are Mika Reyes, Ces Molina, Kianna Dy, Cha Cruz-Behag, Dawn Macandili, MJ Phillips and Rebecca Rivera.
“Hopefully, we will be complete. We have to be ready and be in full force as much as possible because we are facing Cignal,” said national team mentor Shaq delos Santos.
Smart-Army, meanwhile, hopes to showcase its top form behind Ging Balse-Pabayo, Nene Bautista, Joanne Bunag and Tin Agno.