GENERIKA-Ayala tries to bounce back from a rusty opening-day performance as it battles Cocolife in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The match starts at 7 p.m. following the encounter between Sta. Lucia Realty and rookie team Iriga City at 4:15 p.m.
Generika-Ayala entered the conference with high hopes following the acquisition of Katarina Pilepic of Croatia, Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago and Penina Snuka of the US.
But the Lifesavers bowed to the powerful Petron side bannered by prolific imports Hillary Hurley and Lindsay Stalzer, as well as Japanese libero Yuri Fukuda, in straight sets in the opener.
Pilepic, dubbed “Croatian Hammer” while playing for the Arizona Wildcats in the NCAA Division I, had a team-high 14 points, but was obviously overwhelmed by the Petron blockers led by Mika Reyes and Ria Meneses, who had three blocks apiece.
Ramdin was able to score only nine markers, yet to regain her deadly form after leading her country in the FIVB World Championship Qualifying Tournament recently.
“I feel that we still have something more to show. I expect the girls to go all out for a bounce back victory against Cocolife on Tuesday,” said Generika-Ayala head coach Francis Vicente, who is also hoping to get fine performances from Gen Casugod, Fiola Ceballos, Kat Arado and team captain Angeli Araneta.
Cocolife, has only two imports even though teams are allowed three, but the team had a good preparation for the tournament, seeing action in a pocket tournament in Vietnam.
Led by imports Taylor Milton and Tai Manu-Olevao with a reliable libero in Denden Lazaro and a solid opposite spiker in Michele Gumabao, the Asset Managers are billed as title contenders.
Among Cocolife’s biggest assets is veteran playmaker Tina Salak, who is returning to action playing after going on semi-retirement to focus on coaching.
“Syempre, iba kapag nadyan si Tina,” said Cocolife coach Kungfu Reyes, who was part of the coaching staff when Salak spearheaded Philippine Army to three consecutive titles in the early stretch of the league.
“We’re more solid if Tina is on the court. We know that she was my assistant last conference, so I expect her to serve as their coach inside the playing court.”
Also in the lineup for Cocolife are former Lady Troopers Ging Balse, Joanne Bunag, Nene Bautista and Jane Gonzales as well as former La Salle star Wensh Tiu and Ateneo ace Marge Tejada.