PETRON is about to face a daunting ‘three-peat’ challenge as eight other teams are going after its hide in the 2019 Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference, which fires off on June 15 at the Arena in San Juan City.
The Blaze Spikers have been dominating the league for the past six years emerging as the winningest club with six titles after recently completing a golden repeat in the past Grand Prix Conference.
As Petron eyes an unprecedented ‘three-peat’ in the All-Filipino Conference, all the eight challengers expressed their will to stop Petron in the special edition of Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum for the PSL launch on Tuesday at Amelie Hotel Manila.
F2 Logistics, silver medalists of the past two All-Filipino Conference, is seeking to exact a sweet revenge on its rival for the past six PSL Finals as it boasts a healthier line-up with Kianna Dy and Kim Fajardo expected to rejoin Aby Maraño, Ara Galang, Majoy Baron, Dawn Macandili and fresh graduate from La Salle Desiree Cheng.
“Gagawin namin lahat talaga para makasabay sa kanila. Hindi naman tayo nagpapractice para sa second third or fourth, laging sa championship,” said Noel Orcullo, speaking for head coach Ramil de Jesus.
Foton is also looking to end Petron’s dynasty with a retooled roster as sisters Eya and Ej Laure join towering siblings Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat.
“Sa Petron maganda yung naset nilang standards,” said Foton coach Aaron Velez. “It’s a good aspiration for us to level their game. Alam naman ng mga teams to lebel their standards, katulad nga ditos sa PSL iba ang laro dito.”
Contenders Generika-Ayala, Cignal and Sta. Lucia as well as United Volleyball Club, which didn’t attend the presser, have what it takes to put up a gallant fight against Petron.
“Meron kaming mga bago. I think bubulungan ko na si coach shaq na tatalunin ko na siya,” beamed Cignal head coach Edgar Barroga, who acquired 6-foot setter Alohi Robins-Hardy from UVC to join Rachel Anne Daquis and Mylene Paat.
Sta. Lucia head coach Babes Castillo agreed to his fellow coaches.
“Si coach Shaq ang tugatog na kailangan abutin ng lahat ng teams. All I can say is lahat kamk will try to abutin yung tugatog ni coach,” he said.
Expansion team Marinerang Pilipina, meanwhile, wants to prove first that they belong to the league.
“Kaya namin talaga, pipilitin namin tumapat sa level ng PSL,” said Assistant coach Ron Dulay, who will bank on young spikers Dimdim Pacres, Caitlyn Viray, Chiara Permentilla, Cesca Racraquin and Judith Abil.
For Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos, he respects the challenge of all the opposing teams but his glad that they earned all the respect from their successful dynasty.
“I think possible siya na pwede mapalitan (yung finalists) kasi knowing all the coaches of the PSL talagang pinagiisipan, pinagpaplanuhan, pinaghahandaan every game,” he said.
It could be the hardest title-retention bid for Petron but Delos Santos insisted that they won’t give up their built-dynasty with an intact core bannered by reigning UAAP MVP Sisi Rondina, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Ces Molina, Mika Reyes, Rhea Dimaculangan, Denden Lazaro, Bernadeth Pons and Remy Palma.
“Siyempre kailangan namin pangalagaan kung ano yung pinaghirapan namin,” said Delos Santos.