A STRUGGLING Cignal tries to book a return trip to the semifinals when it tangles with Petron in the women’s division of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix on Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The HD Spikers hope to get out of a three-game slump and gain confidence from their 17-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-18 elimination-round win over Petron in their 4 p.m. quarterfinal meeting, with the winner facing league-leading and unbeaten PLDT-MyDSL in the Final Four.
But Cignal coach Sammy Acaylar, who is counting on Chinese reinforcements Li Zhanzhan and Xie Lei together with former La Salle stars Chie Saet, Michelle Datuin and Maureen Penetrante-Ouano, insists the quarterfinal is an entirely different ballgame.
"We cannot simply bank on our previous win over them,” he said. "We have to bring our best effort in this game. We have to do those little things that made us successful in the past.”
In the first game, Cagayan Valley clashes with newcomer RC Cola for the right to challenge Army in the next round.
Hard-hitting Thai smashers Wanida Kotruang and Patcharee Saengmuang are expected to take charge for the Lady Rising Suns, who are facing a winless Raiders side that Cagayan coach Nes Pamilar feels is capable of pulling off an upset.
"We still have to be very careful in our executions," said Pamilar, recalling that early turnovers nearly led to their downfall during their 23-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-12 win over RC Cola in the eliminations.
"RC Cola is a very dangerous team,” he added. They are capable of pulling off surprises. We can't take them lightly."
Aside from Kotruang and Saengmuang, homegrown talents like Aiza Maizo-Fontillas, Joy Benito, Pau Soriano and Angeli Tabaquero are expected to match the firepower of Ivy Remulla, Carmela Barbin and reinforcements Minghua Zhang of China and Sontaya Keawbundit of Thailand.
In the men's action, top-seeded PLDT-MyDSL collides with Maybank at 6 p.m. in a bid to join Systema in the finals.