Petron eyes semifinal spot as Blaze Spikers battle winless Meralco in Super Liga
The Petron Blaze Spikers eye their fourth straight victory in the PSL Grand Prix. Dante Peralta

STREAKING Petron goes for a semifinal seat when it takes on winless Meralco on Thursday in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix at The Arena in San Juan.

League-leading Philips Gold and midtable Foton try to sustain their momentum when they clash in the other game.

Philips Gold has scored four consecutive wins after an opening-day loss and occupy the top spot with a 4-1 win-loss mark, thanks to American imports Bojana Todorovic and Alexis Olgard.

Not far behind are Petron and erstwhile leader Cignal with 5-2 records, while surging Foton is in fourth spot at 3-3.

Focus is on the Blaze Spikers, the reigning Grand Prix champions, as they battle the Power Spikers in the 6 p.m. match.

The Petron squad featuring Aby Marano, Rachel Anne Daquis, Dindin Manabat, Ces Molina and Jen Reyes with Brazilian imports Rupia Inck and Erica Adachi  have posted three consecutive victories, including a morale-boosting five-set conquest of Cignal and a four-set triumph over RC Cola-Air Force before the league took a seven-day breather in observance of All Saints Day.

In those wins, Inck was the star of the show.

"Like a diesel engine, Rupia needed some time to heat up before she gets her real game going," said Petron coach George Pascua after Inck erupted for 16 kills, three blocks and two aces for a 21-hit performance against the Raiders.

"Maybe she was still adjusting in the first few games. But now that she's heating up, our locals are also having an inspired performance. We're playing great whenever Rupia plays well. We just have to work hard and convert her impressive numbers into victories to reach our goal."

The Power Spikers, on the other hand, have yet to post a win in five starts, but their coach Ramil de Jesus, vowed to come out strong in the second round.

"The adjustment period is now over. We now have to buckle down to work," said de Jesus, a known motivator and master of adjustments after guiding AirAsia, Generika and Shopinas to the finals of the past three conferences after a slow start.

Tipped to come out strong for the Power Spikers are imports Liis Kullerkann of Estonia and Tina Alessi of the United States as well as veterans Cha Cruz, Paneng Mercado with La Salle standouts like Kim Fajardo, Mika Reyes and Cyd Demecillo also expected to shine in the tournament presented by Asics and backed by Milo, Senoh, Mueller, Mikasa and TV5.


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