THE anticipated battle between Foton and Petron for the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix title begins on Thursday, but the psywar between the rival squads has already been ongoing days ahead of the best-of-three championship series.
Defending champion Foton looks to repeat against last year’s victim Petron, and American import Lindsay Stalzer and head coach Moro Branislav have already fired the opening salvo, playing mind games on their opponents.
“We will beat you!” she jokingly told one of the Petron coaching staff.
The Tornadoes have also swept the Tri-Activ Spikers in the elimination round, and Petron has failed to win a set against Foton in the tournament, thanks to an intimidating frontline led by Petron’s former top rookie pick Dindin Santiago-Manabat, her younger sister Jaja, local middle blockers Angeli Araneta and Maika Ortiz with imports Stalzer and Ariel Usher.
But the Tri-Activ Spikers also have an ace up their sleeve in former Tornadoes assistant coach Ian Fernandez.
Fernandez has all the inside knowledge on Foton, plus he was Branislav’s student in the FIVB Level 2 coaching seminar.
“Part ng strategy ni coach Moro ‘yan, ang mag-mind games, actually ganyan ang style ng mga international coaches,” said a team insider. “Pag nakita niyang aapektuhan ka, tapos ka na.”
“Kaya pansinin niyo sa lahat ng interviews niya sinasabi niya na he’s not satisfied daw, the team is not yet in 100 percent, kino-kundisyon niya ang utak ng mga kalaban na Foton ang underdog,” added the source.