WHILE coaches tend to be overly modest when tagged as top favorite, Petron's George Pascua is liking the thought of having targets on their backs as the Blaze Spikers go for back-to-back titles in the Philippine Super Liga.
"Sabi ng ibang coaches team-to-beat daw kami, naniniwala naman ako doon," said Petron coach George Pascua.
"Malalim kasi ang bench namin, tapos may nadagdag pa kaya mas lumakas kami this conference."
The All Filipino Conference starts on March 21 at the Mall of Asia Arena and the Blaze Spikers look to score a follow-up to their victory in the PSL Grand Prix with imports Alaina Bergsma and Erica Adachi.
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Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Mina Aganon, Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, Frances Molina and Maica Morada are still with the squad.
Blaze Spikers also got a boost with the addition of Filipino-American Alexa Micek, Aby Marano from last conference’s runner-up Generika and Rachel Anne Daquis from three-time PSL champion Army.
One small concern Pascua sees is getting the superstars to play as one solid unit.
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"Stars kasi sila dati sa mga team nila kaya kailangan ko sila maglaro as a team and ma-embrace nila na nasa team Petron na sila," he said.
Former Ateneo star Gretchen Ho and Perpetual Help’s Sandra de los Santos are no longer on the Petron players’ lineup, but a PSL official said Ho will be part of the coaching staff.
Petron starts its bid for back-to-back titles against expansion team Philips Gold.