MANILA, Philippines — Four teams jockey for second round positions as they clash in the penultimate playdate of the first round of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan today.
Cignal, in joint fourth with Sta. Lucia at 3-3, collides with Generika-Ayala at 4:15 p.m. while the Lady Realtors face off with the 2-4 Foton Tornadoes in the 7 p.m. main game of the tournament bankrolled by Isuzu and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
With unbeaten Petron (7-0) and F2 Logistics (6-1) booking the top two slots in the second round, the race for the No. 3 spot heats up among Cignal, Sta. Lucia and idle Cocolife (4-3) in the event backed by Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
Based on the league format, the top team (Petron) will lead Pool A in the next phase that will include Nos. 3, 6 and 8 while the No. 2 team (F2 Logistics) will head Pool B that includes Nos. 4, 5 and 7.
For Sta. Lucia head coach George Pascua, it doesn’t really matter which pool his team lands in.
“You really can’t choose between Petron and F2 Logistics. Both of them are very tough teams,” said Pascua following the Lady Realtors’ thrilling four-set conquest of Smart late Tuesday.
“A very convincing win would surely be a major morale-booster for us entering the second round. That’s what we want to achieve. We want to finish the first round on a very strong note.”
But the Lady Realtors’ objective is easier said than done.
Foton, a two-time champion of the import-laced conference, is still reeling from a sorry four-set loss to F2 Logistics and it is expected to come up with a strong rebound to avoid tumbling all the way to sixth place.
Imports Brooke Kranda and Elizabeth Wendel are tipped to come up with an inspired performance in the attack zone while the local crew of Maika Ortiz, Dindin Manabat, Gen Casugod and CJ Rosario take care of the net defense.
“Foton is a very tall team,” said Pascua, adding that Bohdana Anisova, Marisa Field and MJ Philips are all ready to challenge the Tornadoes’ vaunted blocking.
“We have to work double time to break their blocking and come up with strong services to take away their first ball. It’s going to be an exciting match, that’s for sure.”