REIGNING champion F2 Logistics and Petron battle separate foes as the Super Liga Grand Prix semifinals get going on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Cargo Movers battle Foton at 7 p.m. after the Blaze Spikers play against Cocolife in the 4:15 p.m. match.
F2 Logistics clashes against a Foton side that welcome the return of former Most Valuable Player Jaja Santiago, who is fresh from a Final Four stint with National University in the UAAP.
The Tornadoes had earlier signed college stars Diana Carlos and Isa Molde of University of the Philippines to beef up the squad led by imports Elizabeth Wendel and Channon Thompson, Dindin Manabat, Gyselle Sy and Maika Ortiz.
“We’re facing a well-oiled machine,” said Foton head coach Rommel Abella, noting that they have to neutralize imports Maria Jose Perez and Kennedy Bryan as well as mainstays Aby Marano, Kim Fajardo and skipper Cha Cruz if they want to pull off an upset.
“Still, F2 Logistics has some lapses. We need to pounce on those lapses and show that we want it more than them. We’re ready to triple our effort if we have to. The important thing is to show that we are hungrier and we want it more than them.”
The Cocolife Asset Managers look to topple the Blaze Spikers and will count on FIVB World Grand Prix veteran Marta Drpa.
Petron, on the other hand, tapped Katherine Bell to replace Hillary Hurley, who is nursing a recurring ankle injury.
A 6-foot-1 former University of Texas standout, Bell is known for her versatility as she can play the open, opposite and middle blocker roles. She saw action in Puerto Rico, South Korea and Turkey before flying in last week to power the Blaze Spikers in their championship quest.
“She is a hardworking player who can play multiple positions,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos, who will bank on veteran Lindsay Stalzer, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Frances Molina and Mika Reyes for additional firepower.
“She’s a good communicator who loves to motivate her teammates. I hope she can help us reach our ultimate goal, which is to win the title.”