POWERHOUSE teams Petron XCS and RC Cola-Army A try to bolster their respective title bids when they tackle separate foes Saturday in the second weekend of the 2016 Philippine Superliga (PSL) Challenge Cup beach volleyball tournament at the Sands at SM By the Bay in Mall of Asia.
After pulling off an easy win in the opener, Petron's Bang Pineda and Aiza Pontilas face a serious challenge when they battle Cherry Rondina and Patty Orendain of Foton in the much-anticipated 3 p.m. match of this prestigious tourney sponsored by Sands at SM By the Bay, Petron, Foton, Accel, Mikasa, Senoh and Island Rose.
Meanwhile, multi-titled Jovelyn Gonzaga and Nene Bautista of RC Cola-Army A battles a dangerous Meralco side of April Ross Hingpit and Jonafer San Pedro at 6 p.m. following the 4 p.m. encounter between UE Manila and Standard Insurance Navy A and the 5 p.m. matchup of Standard Insurance B and fancied F2 Logistics led by reigning champion Danika Gendrauli and Aby Marano.
Wrapping up the busy schedule in the women's division is the game between FEU-Petron of Kyla Atienza and Bernadeth Pons and Cignal Team Awesome of Mary Grace Berte and Vhima Condada at 7 p.m.
Also expected to steal the limelight are the battles in the men's side with twins Daniel and Tim Young of SM By the Bay facing brothers Rey and Relan Taneo of Cignal Team Awesom in the 6:45 p.m. match followed by the encounter between Philippine Navy A and FEU B in the night cap at 8:30 p.m.
Wayuk and FEU will tip things off followed by the match between UE Manila and IEM at 8:45 a.m.; FEU B and Cignal Team Awesome at 9:30 a.m.; Wayuk and Philippine Navy B at 10:15 a.m.; FEU A and UE Manila at 11 a.m.; Philippine Navy A and Cignal Team Awesome at 11:45 a.m.; TVM and FEU B at 12:30 p.m.; and Philippine Navy B and IEM at 1:15 p.m.
But still, spotlight will be focussed on Petron XCS and RC Cola-Army A, two heavyweights who are expected to figure for the crown of this tournament which also has TV5 as official broadcast partner.
Petron XCS walked over Mapua before breezing through Accel Quantum Plus, 21-7, 21-9, while RC Cola-Army A encountered little trouble in their opener before hammering a 19-21, 21-16, 15-13 victory over FEU-Petron.
"We're thankful that our communication as a team is still there," said Gonzaga, a grizzled beach volley veteran who already represented the country in numerous tournaments abroad. "We just have to work hard because there are a lot of good teams in this tournament. We have to double our effort if we want to win the title."
Petron XCS, for their part, is expected to have their hands full against Rondina and Orendain of Foton, arguably two of the best spikers from Visayas.
"They have the skills and the talent to make it big," said Pontillas, referring to the Foton pair which also clobbered Accel Quantum Plus with an emphatic 21-3, 21-7 decision. "Facing them is really a major challenge so tingnan na lang natin. Gagawin namin lahat ng makakaya namin."