Petron, Cignal as PSL heavyweights

Wednesday, 01 Mar 2017
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad

Cignal and Petron will be marching as heavyweights when the 2017 Belo-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference unwraps this Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.

After falling short in the Grand Prix last year, the HD Spikers and the Blaze Spikers launched a massive overhaul on their respective rosters to emerge as superpowers in this prestigious club league.

Spotlight will be on the HD Spikers as they acquired former RC Cola-Army stars Rachel Anne Daquis, Honey Royse Tubino and Jovelyn Gonzaga as well as former Petron team captain Maica Morada.

They will join the veteran core of Paneng Mercado, Jheck Dionela, Mylene Paat, Janine Marciano, Cherry Vivas, Sandra Delos Santos, Lourdes Patillano, May Macatuno, Len Cortel and Chie Saet, who used to be part of the glorious La Salle team of the past decade.

Petron also blossomed into a superteam.

The Blaze Spikers played the recruitment wars to perfection, tapping stars Mika Reyes, Rhea Dimaculangan and Carmela Tunay together with Dancel Dusaran and Gianes Dolar, a middle blocker from Bacolod City.

April Ross Hingpit, Carmina Aganon, Mayette Zapanta, Shiela Pineda, Frances Molina, Aiza Pontillas and CJ Rosario will all be back to spearhead the Blaze Spikers’ run to another title.

New teams out to make an impact

Cocolife team official Joshua Ylaya said despite the strong rosters of Cignal and Petron, they will still make sure to come up with a very good fight.

“As you can see, Petron and Cignal are the strongest teams on paper.”

“But rest assured that we will give them a very good fight. As much as possible, we want to drag them to five sets every game.”

Led by former rivals Michele Gumabao from La Salle and Denden Lazaro from Ateneo, hopes are high on the Asset Managers as they parade the nucleus of newly-crowned NCAA champion Arellano University.

On the same note, neophyte Sta. Lucia is also a team to watch as it displays the talents of former NCAA stars like Djanel Cheng, Janine Navarro and Lourdes Clemente.

Not to forget…

Not to be outdone, Foton and Generika are tipped to go all out, especially with NCAA Most Valuable Player Gretchel Soltones powering the Tornadoes together with Dindin Manabat, Ivy Perez and Maika Ortiz while the Lifesavers will bank on new faces Angeli Araneta, Carol Cerveza, Patty Jane Orendain, Bia General, Fiola Mae Ceballos and Shirley Salamagos.

Pascua said despite their strong lineup, they still can’t take other teams for granted.

“Even if we have a solid lineup, we still can’t relax.”

“We have to go out there and slug it out every game because other teams are very motivated to defeat us.”

The six teams will play in a single-round robin with the top three teams joining a university team from Japan in the semifinals.