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    Homegrown spikers ready to raise game with arrival of tough imports in Super Liga Grand Prix

    Oct 8, 2015
    Michele Gumabao and the Lady Slammers look to claim their first PSL title. 

    WHILE the imports are tipped to make a major impact, homegrown talents vowed not get intimidated as they go all out when the Philippine Superliga rolls out its season-ending Grand Prix on Saturday at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

    Maica Morada, skipper of two-time champion Petron, emphasized their readiness for the new challenges with the level of competition expected to rise with the new batch of imports.

    The Blaze Spikers are coming off a fruitful stint in the 2015 AVC Asian Women's Club Championship in Phy Ly in Vietnam where they sharpened their offensive attacks, solidified their defense and developed their chemistry inside and outside the court.

    Morada said the squad led by the hard-hitting troika of Rachel Anne Daquis, Aby Marano, Dindin Manabat with Brazilians Rupia Inck and Erica Adachi as reinforcements, is more than ready for the war and will do whatever it takes to retain its crown.

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    "That trip to Vietnam made us realize the degree of difficulty of competing in an international competition," said the soft-spoken Morada, one of the products of Far Eastern University seeing action in this prestigious inter-club women's volleyball tournament.

    "But it made us stronger. It forged our bond and prepared us for the challenges of the PSL. We are now working on more combination plays on offense, improvement of our reception and net defense as well as communication inside the court in preparation for the Grand Prix."

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    Philips Gold captain Michelle Gumabao said local hitters like Myla Pablo and Desiree Dadang are blending seamlessly to the fast, American game of their new setter in Filipino-American Lindsay Dowd as well as the aggressive offense of imports Bojana Todorovic and Alexis Olgard.

    Same goes for the Foton Tornadoes, who will bank on imports Lindsay Stalzer and Katie Messing together with a solid group of locals led by Patty Jane Orendain, Angeli Araneta, Fiola Ceballos and new recruit in 6-foot-4 Jaja Santiago.

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    "We're all ready," said Foton skipper Ivy Remulla. "We have already corrected the mistakes we had in the previous conference and successfully integrated the new faces, especially the imports, in our system. We're confident that this conference will be different; we're ready to contend for the crown."

    Also tipped to make their presence felt is Cignal, which will be bannered by the core of veteran Michelle Laborte, April Ross Hingpit and Rizza Mandapat with Americans Ariel Usher and Amanda Anderson as imports; RC Cola-Air Force, which will parade Judy Caballejo, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan with Lynda Morales and Sarah McClinton as reinforcements; and Meralco, which will be led by Cha Cruz, Paneng Mercado and the nucleus of UAAP powerhouse De La Salle Lady Spikers with Estonian Liis Kullerkann and American Christina Alessi serving as its main sources of energy.

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    Michele Gumabao and the Lady Slammers look to claim their first PSL title. 
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