Fired-up High Speed Hitters seek No. 3 vs Cool Smashers

PLDT Home Fibr puts its strong start in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference semifinals on the line but must unleash its strongest performance against the most feared team in pursuit of a third straight victory and continued control of the post-eliminations play.

Hurdling Army in three and Cignal HD in four netted PLDT the lead in the single round robin six-team phase but many believe the High Speed Hitters will need more than streak, confidence and poise to put one over the Creamline Cool Smashers in their 5:30 p.m. clash at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

For the Open Conference champion is brimming with firepower and experience although the High Speed Hitters have underscored their offensive might in their repeat win over the HD Spikers the other night where they produced 59 attack points against their rivals’ 46.

More importantly, PLDT showed up with new offensive threats in Jovie Prado and Erika Santos, who combined for 14 points that keyed the team’s stretch-run drive in the third and fourth sets of their come-from-behind 15-25, 25-13, 25-23, 25-23 win over the HD Spikers.

Dell Palomata and Mika Reyes must also re-assert their control of the middle the way they did when they pooled 30 points, mostly on quick attacks and blocks, against the HD Spikers, and in anticipation of their fierce net duel with Creamline’s Pangs Panaga, Risa Sato and Celine Domingo.

While the Cool Smashers look to cash in on their edge on the wings through Tots Carlos, Alyssa Valdez and Jema Galanza, the High Speed Hitters also boast of power hitters in Chin Basas, Fiola Ceballos and Jules Samonte with PLDT coach George Pascua now having the luxury of inserting Prado and Santos into his rotation and getting them into the scoring act.

That should make their face-off worth watching with the High Speed Hitters out to get back the Cool Smashers, who thrashed them with a 25-22, 25-16, 25-21 victory on a 53-29 attack romp in the elims of the mid-season conference organized by Sports Vision.

Creamline went on to top the qualifier then repulsed Army in four to launch their finals drive, also last Tuesday, to prime itself up against PLDT for a stab at the lead heading to next week’s battle where stamina will come into play given the three-game daily grind starting Monday.

Kobe Shinwa from Japan and Taiwan’s KingWhale make their debut as they collide in the 2:30 p.m. opener with Creamline and Cignal HD mixing it up again at 5:30 p.m. at the MOA Arena.

Meanwhile, the HD Spikers seek to rebound from their setback to their sister team with a victory over the Lady Troopers in today’s 2 p.m. match although the latter, which dropped their first two games, are expected to go flat-out for a win to stave off virtual elimination.

Games are aired live on One Sports (free to Air Ch 41 and Cignal CH 6) and One Sports+ (Cignal Ch 91 SD, Ch 261 HD). Both channels are also available on Cignal’s OTT Platform, Cignal Play, with video on demand also available on the platform.

Matches can also be streamed on social media application KUMU and on the league’s official website