DENDEN Lazaro has parted ways with Cocolife and joined powerhouse Petron, boosting the latter's title-retention bid in the 2018 Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix that kicks off next month.
Cocolife team official Joshua Ylaya announced that Lazaro and the Asset Managers have mutually agreed on the prized libero’s transfer to the five-time PSL champion, saying the team fully supports her decision.
“Denden is more than just a teammate – she’s a dear friend and part of our family,” said Ylaya on Lazaro, who has been part of Cocolife since it joined the league last 2017 along with former player Michele Gumabao.
“Denden is a person of high character and a consummate pro. She proved that she could still play at a high level after helping us reach the semifinals in the Grand Prix last year. So, with a heavy heart, we announce her transfer to a new club and we wish her well in her quest for her first PSL crown.”
The former Ateneo Lady Eagles star is expected to boost Petron with her tremendous floor defense as libero Buding Duremdes will return to Far Eastern University for UAAP Season 81.
Lazaro already took part in the Blaze Spikers' first training of the year last Monday, joining a powerhouse core that also included fellow national team mainstays Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Frances Molina and Rhea Dimaculangan with imports Americans Stephanie Niemer and Katherine Bell.
To make up for the loss of Lazaro, the Asset Managers recruited middle blocker Amy Ahomiro from BanKo Perlas Spikers in the Premier Volleyball League and defense specialist Bang Pineda from Generika-Ayala Lifesavers.
Ahomiro, the Finals’ MVP in Season 77 of the UAAP, will make her PSL debut joining the likes of Lazaro, Therese Gaston, Bea de Leon, Marge Tejada, Aerieal Patnongon, Jhoanna Maraguinot and Jamie Lavitoria in the list of former Lady Eagles who moved to the PSL.
“Amy, who will play in the PSL for the first time in her career, will give us depth in the middle while Bang will help us overcome the dearth created by Denden’s absence in the backline,” said Ylaya.
Cocolife, led by import Sara Klisura and army players Tina Salak, Royse Tubino and Nene Bautista, made it to the semifinals in last year’s Grand Prix only to lose at the hands of champion team Petron in the knockout Final Four round.
The Asset Managers retooled in the Invitationals with young players Gyra Barroga, and Justine Tiu as well as mainstay Denice Tan but they finished 10th place. They acquired Fil-Am superstar Kalei Mau in the All-Filipino Conference only to win just one game in the preliminary round against Sta. Lucia and settle for seventh place losing to F2 Logistics in the quarterfinals.
“Our still may still be a work in progress, but rest assured that we will be very competitive to give the heavyweights a serious fight in the upcoming PSL Grand Prix,” Ylaya concluded.