SMART-Army and Sta. Lucia Realty parade their re-tooled roster in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference on Monday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The match is set at 7 p.m. after match between Cocolife and returning Cherrylume-UE at 4:15 pm.
F2 Logistics jumpstarted its campaign with a three-set win over Foton on opening day.
After a winless campaign in the PSL Grand Prix, Smart formed a team of Philippine Army and University of Sto. Tomas players for the Invitationals.
Lady Troopers Mary Jean Balse-Pabayo, Luth Malaluan, Nerissa Bautista, Genie Sabas and Joanne Bunag join Tigresses Caitlin Viray, Dimdim Pacres, Mildred Dizon and Tin Francisco to lead the Giga Hitters.
“We’re an old team that looks like new,” said Smart head coach Kungfu Reyes, who led the Lady Troopers to a dramatic victory over the Thailand juniors national team in the finals of the PSL Invitationals in 2016.
“The pressure is always there and that’s what we want. We just have to overachieve and surpass the previous ranking of Smart. We won’t settle for anything less; we’ll target the best finish possible.”
The Lady Realtors will be bannered by former Ateneo star Jhoanna Maraguinot together with Far Eastern University standouts Carly Hernandez, Jeanette Villareal and Toni Rose Basas.
Pam Lastimosa, MJ Philips, Rubie de Leon, Rebecca Rivera and Michelle Laborte are also in the lineup for the Sta. Lucia squad raring to reach the semifinals for the first time.
“We want to meet the expectation of the management to finish with a better ranking and reach at least the semifinals,” said Pascua, the architect of Petron’s historic sweep of the All-Filipino Conference in 2015.
“I think it’s achievable because I have very talented players. It only depends on how they will jell as a team.”