An overhauled Foton squad tests the mettle of reigning champion Petron in the main game of another explosive triple-header in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference today at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Action starts at 7 p.m. with the Tornadoes set to deploy their powerhouse roster against Blaze Spikers, who are looking to capture a rare three-peat in the midseason battle of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Team Rebel Sports, SOGO, Eurotel, PCSO, Cocolife, UCPB Gen, Mueller, Senoh, Asics, Bizooku and One Sport.
Prior to that, Marinerang Pilipina hunts its first win against a red-hot PLDT Home Fibr side in the 2 p.m. opener while struggling Sta. Lucia battles Cignal in the 4 p.m. encounter that has ESPN5 and Kapatid TV5 as broadcast partners.
Despite beefing up its roster with quality talents like Marian Buitre, Justine Dorog and Laizah Bendong to help the solid core of Jaja Santiago, Dindin Manabat, Elaine Kasilag and Jen Reyes, Foton still had a slow start.
They split their first two games against Sta. Lucia and Generika-Ayala before losing a tough 9-25, 25-23, 22-25, 16-25 setback to F2 Logistics last Saturday at the Imus Sports Center in Imus City, Cavite.
In that match, open spiker Shaya Adorador carried the cudgels, but the Tornadoes failed to draw impressive numbers from other scorers like Santiago, Mina Aganon, Manabat and Kasilag.
Still, Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos will not take Foton lightly.
“They are still contenders, a powerhouse team that has tall players. We cannot let our guards down,” said Delos Santos, who steered the Blaze Spikers to the All-Filipino throne for the past couple of years.
Delos Santos said his wards are oozing with confidence after making short work of Marinerang Pilipina in their first match since winning the Grand Prix title last month, 25-21, 25-16, 25-10.
Veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas dug deep into her well of experience, firing 12 kills and three blocks for a 15-point effort while Mika Reyes and Bernadeth Pons delivered 10 and nine markers, respectively, for the Blaze Spikers.
“That was just the start,” said Delos Santos, who also gained significant numbers from reigning University Athletic Association of the Philippines Most Valuable Player Sisi Rondina and playmaker Rhea Dimaculangan.
“We still need to step up because we’re going to face the contenders starting with Foton.”