Early clash of favorites in Super Liga Invitational as Cignal takes on Petron
Cignal, coming off a five-set win, faces another tough match.

THE big guns clash early in the Super Liga as Cignal battles Petron for the lead in the Invitational Conference at The Arena in San Juan.

The HD Spikers and Blaze Spikers collide at 7 p.m., following the 5 o’clock battle between Cocolife and Foton.

After a string of unfortunate finishes, the HD Spikers made an off-season revamp and signed three of the best players in the country in Jovelyn Gonzaga, Honey Royse Tubino and Rachel Anne Daquis. They also tabbed Maica Morada to join Paneng Mercado, Janine Marciano, Cherry Vivas and Jheck Dionela.

Cignal eked out a five-set win over powerhouse Foton on opening day, with Gonzaga scoring 17 points.

The HD Spikers’ resolve will be tested by the Blaze Spikers, also coming off a big win.

Petron, which signed Mika Reyes and Carmela Tunay before the tournament, made quick work of Sta. Lucia in its first match.

Reyes and Tunay delivered nine points apiece while team captain Frances Molina chipped in eight markers for the Blaze Spikers.

Cignal coach George Pascua said they have done their homework and will use their experience and familiarity with Petron’s system to win.

Pascua guided Petron to a historic 13-0 sweep of the All-Filipino Conference in 2015 while Daquis and Morada served as his key players. Gonzaga, for her part, is also quite familiar with her counterpart, Maizo-Pontillas, after playing with her in the beach volleyball competition of the Southeast Asian Games in 2011.

“We’re very familiar with Petron and we will use it as our biggest asset,” said Pascua, adding that he is excited to face the Blaze Spikers after guiding them to a pair of titles and three finals appearances before moving to Cignal.

“Also, one of our advantages over them is that we have reliable leaders on the floor. The experience and leadership of Rachel, Jovelyn and Maica is something you can’t ignore.”

Cocolife looks to rebound from an opening-day loss to Generika. Former Ateneo star Denden Lazaro will also make her much-awaited PSL debut against Foton, the same team that drafted her two years ago.

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