PRESEASON favorites Petron and RC Cola-Army shoot for a share of the early lead against separate foes in the 2016 Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Tri-Activ Spikers battle Generika at 2 p.m. while the Lady Troopers clash with Cignal at 4 pm in this prestigious club tourney sponsored by KLab Cyscorpions, Asics, Grand Sports, Mikasa, Mueller and Senoh with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
After winning their debut, Petron and RC Cola-Army are tied at second spot behind the La Salle-powered F2 Logistics, which smothered Cignal in the opener and dominated Amy’s in three sets late Thursday for a 2-0 win-loss slate.
Although the Tri-Activ Spikers lost the core of Dindin Manabat, Fille Cayetano, Rachel Anne Daquis and Aby Marano, they remain strong contenders with the acquisition of FEU stalwarts Bernadeth Pons and Remy Palma and the recruitment of CJ Rosario, Bang Pineda and veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas.
Petron’s off-season moves paid off well as Pons and Palma provide rock-solid net defense while Maizo-Pontillas peppered Foton with hot smashes en route to a game-high 16 points during the Tri-Activ Spikers' opening-day victory over the Tornadoes.
But Petron’s resolve will be put to an ultimate test as it faces a young and hungry Generika side, which boasts of rising stars Chloe Cortez, Shaya Adorador, Gen Casugod and Wensh Tiu with veteran playmaker Rubie de Leon at the helm.
The Lifesavers displayed nerves of steel in dominating Standard Insurance-Navy in four sets to start their campaign on a winning note. And though they suffered a thrilling 11-25, 25-22, 24-26, 21-25 setback to Foton late Thursday, Generika coach Francis Vicente still liked what he saw.
“I love the intensity and energy of the team,” said Vicente, who steered Philips Gold to a pair of second runner-up finishes last year.
“They are young, hungry and aggressive. We just have to stay together and continue our fighting stance. This is a good start,” he added.
Also expected to be the toast of the large weekend crowd is the battle between RC Cola-Army and Cignal.
The Lady Troopers are coming from a three-set demolition of Amy’s while Cignal looks to bounce back from its four-set loss to the Cargo Movers.
RC Cola-Army coach Kungfu Reyes said they are planning to go all out against the HD Spikers to brush off the rust in his veteran-laden squad.
“We have to switch our game a notch higher,” said Reyes, who will bank on seasoned setter Tina Salak as well as Honey Royse Tubino, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Daquis anew.
“I’m not satisfied with how we performed against Amy’s. I feel that we still have something to show. Cignal is such a dangerous team. We have to be careful,” he added.
Meanwhile, the league conducted its first tryout to form the team that will compete in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship on October 18 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Invited to try their luck for the squad that will be composed of seven local and seven foreign players were Jeanette Panaga, Cherry Vivas, Janine Navarro and Djanel Cheng of Cignal; Gen Casugod, Rubie de Leon, Faith Arado and Ria Meneses of Generika; Pau Soriano and Janette Serfica of Standard Insurance-Navy; Kim Fajardo, Dawn Macandili, Majoy Baron, Kim Dy and Mika Reyes of F2 Logistics; Lourdes Clemente and Cindy Impo of Amy’s; Maika Ortiz, Jaja Santiago and Rhea Dimaculangan of Foton; Maizo Pontillas, Ces Molina and Jen Reyes of Petron; and Salak, Gonzaga, Tubino and Daquis of RC Cola-Army.