'Battle of the sexes' matches in training boost Petron buildup for Super Liga campaign
The Dindin Santiago-led Blaze Spikers have been tagged as teams to beat in the All Filipino Conference. Jerome Ascano    

ALTHOUGH they already have the strongest team on paper, the Petron Blaze Spikers have raised their level of training and have been playing tuneup matches with men in preparation for the Philippine Super Liga All Filipino Conference.

Petron coach George Pascua did not reveal which school or club he has tapped to train with the Blaze Spikers, but said his orders to the men’s team is to play hard and push the women to the limit.

“Sinadya ko ’yun na mga lalaki ang ipa-tune up sa kanila,” Pascua told Spin.ph.

“Ang instructions ko sa mga lalaki kailangan 'no mercy' kasi pagdating sa laban hindi pwede ’yung lalambot-lambot para pag nakalaban nila ’yung mga babae normal na lang,” he added.

The Blaze Spikers mentor believes that it’s better to struggle during training than fold up during actual matches. The All Filipino Conference starts on March 21 at the MOA Arena.

“Sa akin kasi, 'No pain no gain,'” he said. “Tama na ang mahirapan sila sa training para pagdating ng laro is madali na lang. Kaya puro kami high-intensity at explosive ang practice.”

Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Mina Aganon, Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, Frances Molina and Miaca Morada have been retained and the Blaze Spikers added former Generika player Aby Marano, Philippine Army star Rachel Anne Daquis and Filipino-American Alexa Micek.

Pascua admitted there is pressure but he’s confident in his lineup.

“May konting pressure, hindi naman mawawala yun di ba, pero sabi ko nga mas malalim ang bench namin ngayon kaya mas confident kami,” he said.

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