Reigning champion Petron’s bid to sweep the preliminaries faces a massive roadblock as it battles its bitter rival – F2 Logistics – in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix today at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Game time is at 6 p.m. with the Blaze Spikers hunting their 11th straight conquest in this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Asics, Mueller, Mikasa, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Cocolife, Hotel Sogo and Data Project.
Meanwhile, Generika-Ayala looks to add Sta. Lucia to its growing list of victims when they collide in the 4 p.m. appetizer of this league that also has ESPN5 and 5Plus as broadcast partners.
Toting a 3-7 win-loss card, the Lifesavers are fresh from a grueling five-set victory over Foton late Thursday and a win over the Lady Realtors will improve their chances at claiming one of the four twice-to-beat incentives in the quarterfinals.
But the attention would be trained on Petron and F2 Logistics – two of the best club teams in the country who clashed in the past five finals showdowns.
With Katherine Bell and Stephanie Niemer at the helm and national team members Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Frances Molina, Denden Lazaro and Rhea Dimaculangan providing support, the Blaze Spikers were practically in cruise control as they won all but one set in their past 10 matches.
The only set they lost came from the hands of the Cargo Movers in their first meeting this season last March 7.
Still, head coach Shaq Delos Santos is exercising extreme caution.
“We still have to go back to the drawing board because the second round will not be a walk in the park,” said Delos Santos, knowing that the wards of head coach Ramil de Jesus is the best in the business when it comes to mounting a fightback.
“We can’t be complacent against them (F2 Logistics). They will surely prepare so we have to be ready as well. This is going to be an interesting game.”
De Jesus, however, is treating what looms to be another dramatic encounter as just an ordinary game despite the hype surrounding his import in Lindsay Stalzer and her former teammates whom she led to the Grand Prix title last year.
“We’ll treat it as just another ordinary game,” said the 11-time University Athletic Association of the Philippines champion mentor.
“It’s inevitable that we will face each other again. So what we can do is just to play our game and be positive.”
De Jesus said they have carefully studied their miscues in the first round, giving them a good chance to turn the tables and shock the Blaze Spikers in their next encounter.
“We may have lost in the first round, but it was still a good fight. We promise to give them a very good fight no matter what the outcome would be,” said de Jesus, who will again bank on imports Stalzer and Becky Perry as well as the local crew of Aby Marano, Ara Galang, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili.