STAR-studded Petron and Foton clash for the solo top spot in the Philippine Super Liga All Filipino Conference when they meet in an out-of-town match at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna on Thursday.
The Blaze Spikers and the Tornadoes have similar 1-0 cards after winning their respective debuts in the season-opening tournament.
Petron downed expansion team Philips Gold during the opener, 25-16, 25-18, 25-23, while Foton also kicked off its campaign on a winning note via a 25-18, 26-24, 25-23 beating of Cignal.
Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Frances Molina, and newcomer Aby Marano are again expected to show the way for the Blaze Spikers.
Rachel Anne Daquis, who did not suit up in the team’s first outing, plays for Petron in the 4:15 p.m. encounter and is expected to be one of the team’s key players against the Tornadoes along with top guns Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, Mina Aganon, and Maica Morada.
After the Tornadoes won a set over the Blaze Spikers during the import-laden Grand Prix, coach Vilet Ponce de Leon hopes to win an entire match this time against their powerhouse opponent.
“Looking forwad kami na makaharap sila,” she said. “Last year naka-isang set kami sa kanila kahit papano, and now sana maka-isang laro na kami.”
Foton is again banking on its intact core led by team captain Ivy Remulla, Patty Orendain and libero Cara Acevedo, while also leaning for firepower from new recruits Pam Lastimosa, Ncole Tiamzon, and ace blocker Angeli Araneta, picked no.2 overall in the last Rookie Draft.
Lastimosa and Tiamzon had eight and 14 points, respectively in the Tornadoes opening match.
“We have new players, we have new reinforcements,” said Ponce de Leon. “Ang so far ok naman na ang jelling ng team. Kung dati sa collegiate teams nila sila ang captains, dito pantay-pantay lang sila and it’s good for the team.”
In the second game, Shopinas and Mane ‘N Tail take on each other at 6:15 p.m. when the two teams see action for the first time.
The Lady Clickers have the core of the disbanded Generika team reinforcing the squad composed of former La Salle players Cha Cruz, Paneng Mercado, Wensh Tiu and coach Ramil de Jesus.
The Lady Stallions meanwhile, are headed by former Cignal players and University of Perpetual Help alumni Honey Royce Tubino, Arriane Argarin, and Norie Jane Diaz.