Foton tipped as favorites in upcoming PSL tourney

Foton tipped as favorites in upcoming PSL tourney

All eyes will be on Jaja Santiago and the Foton Tornadoes when the Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference that fire off this Saturday.Philippine Superliga/Roman Prospero

MANILA, Philippines – With its towering roster, Foton looms as the team to beat in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference that kicks off this Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After acquiring Ateneo de Manila star Bea de Leon, all eyes will be on the Tornadoes in this prestigious women’s club league bankrolled by Isuzu, SOGO Hotel, and UCPB Gen with ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as official broadcast partners.

Foton team owner Rommel Sytin said he expects the 5-foot-11 De Leon to bring in the quickness in the middle while 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago and 6-foot-1 Dindin Manabat provide the firepower while helping Maika Ortiz, Gen Casugod and CJ Rosario in defending the net.

This will be the first time for De Leon, Santiago and Manabat to play together in one team after starring for their respective teams in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.

“As the league becomes competitive, we’ll see how our ‘Triple Tower’ of Bea, Dindin and Jaja can blend together to give us our first ever Invitationals championship,” said Sytin, an avid sportsman and president of Foton Motor Philippines, Inc.

“They’ve all played together and chemistry will not be a problem. Although this is their first time to play together after college, their partnership will surely bring a lot of excitement to PSL fans.”

But winning the crown will not be a walk in the park.

Petron will march with an intact roster composed of Mika Reyes, Rhea Dimaculangan, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Frances Molina while F2 Logistics will welcome the return of La Salle stalwarts Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili and Desiree Cheng to join the solid core of Kim Fajardo, Aby Marano and Majoy Baron.

Another emerging superpower is Sta. Lucia Realty, which will parade another former Ateneo star in Jhoanna Maraguinot together with UAAP standouts Jeanette Villareal, Toni Rose Basas, Carly Hernandez and Roselle Baliton.

They will join the nucleus of MJ Philips, Rebecca Rivera, Michelle Laborte and Rubie de Leon.

Still, Sytin believes that they have a handsome chance.

“I think we have a good chance,” he said.

“Petron and F2 Logistics continue to be the teams to beat while Sta. Lucia is also tough with its new acquisitions. But with our recruitment of Bea, we are expecting to be competitive and a new spectrum of fan base that will benefit Foton and the PSL.”

The Tornadoes will open their campaign against the Cargo Movers following the battle between Generika-Ayala and United Auctioneers-UP.