A prominent insider claimed that the coaching staff is planning to fortify the defensive fortress of the home team at the net as well as utilize the firepower of its attackers in a bid to come up with an important win to remain in contention in this world-class tournament.
Pomi Casalmaggiore, the reigning European champion, will be a tough nut to crack. After falling to reigning title holders Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul in the opener, the Italian powerhouse bounced back with a thrilling five-set victory over Rexona-Sesc Rio late Wednesday.
A victory over the home squad would not only boost its morale, but will also send it to the semifinals to join early qualifier Volero Zurich. On the other hand, PSL-F2 Logistics Manila suffered a straight-set defeat to Rexona-Sesc Rio in the opener and another loss would completely doom its chances for the next round, especially with the star-studded Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul serving as its last game in the preliminaries.
[quote]So it’s really a must-win game for us.
We are not promising to win, but we will come up with some major adjustments on both ends to give Pomi (Casalmaggiore) a very good fight. Who knows, we might we make it. The possibilities are endless.[/quote]
One of the areas the home squad is looking to improve is its attacking. The source said they would maximize the attacking prowess of middle spikers Jaja Santiago, Mika Reyes and Lynda Morales to give outside hitters Stephanie Niemer and Lindsay Stalzer bigger room to operate. After all, Santiago had shown tremendous improvement during training while Reyes displayed her big fighting heart in their opening-day setback to the mighty Brazilians.
Of course, Olympic veteran Morales would always be a good option as she has the experience, the competitive juice to score over the best defenders in the world. Unfortunately, their Russian middle blocker, Ekaterina Krivets, remains doubtful to suit up as she is reportedly under the weather.
In their match against Rexona-Sesc Rio, Santiago and Morales managed to score only three points apiece while Reyes had two markers – one off a strong hit at the middle and the other off a beautiful combination play.
Setter Kim Fajardo confirmed the source’s claim, saying that she failed to utilize the firepower of her middle blockers.
[quote]I should have prioritized the middle.
I’m not saying that we didn’t distribute the ball well, but we really need more distribution and we are now working on it. We are out to make some adjustments against Italy (Pomi Casalmaggiore).[/quote]
PSL-F2 Logistics Manila skipper Rachel Anne Daquis added that they were at the gallery when Pomi Casalmaggiore battled Rexona-Sesc Rio late Wednesday. They observed the way star setter Carli Lloyd runs the plays and how Croatian superstar Samanta Fabris and Italian Lucia Bosetti reacts to defense.
[quote]We went to the arena to watch our next opponent, which is Pomi.
We did a little scouting to get an idea of what lies ahead.[/quote]
Daquis is right; the home team has to be ready. After all, this will make or break their campaign in this world-class tourney.
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