Import invasion kicks off

Friday, 19 Jan 2018
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad

Foreign players have started to arrive, sparking the start of the intense preparation for the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix that kicks off on Feb. 17.

Based on the photos released by various clubs, reinforcements of Cignal, Sta. Lucia, Foton, F2 Logistics and Generika-Ayala are already in town, prompting them to start their buildup for the season-opening conference of the most prestigious club league in the country.

Former University of Texas El Paso star Jeane Horton already landed to spearhead the HD Spikers’ campaign after losing stars Chie Saet and Paneng Mercado to the rival league, Honey Royse Tubino to Cocolife, Mylene Paat to Adamson University and Janine Marciano and Jovelyn Gonzaga to knee injury.

Cignal team manager Edgar Barroga personally picked up Horton from the airport and was immediately impressed with the condition of their new reinforcements.

Barroga, however, said their other foreign player would be arriving on Friday next week.

“We know that we lost most of our players so our imports would definitely play a crucial role to our campaign this conference.”

Also making their way into the country are Ukrainian Bohdana Anisova for the Lady Realtors, Serbian Katarina Vukamanovic, Canadian Elizabeth Wendel and American Brooke Kranda for the Tornadoes, Kennedy Bryan for the Cargo Movers and Darlene Ramdin for the Lifesavers.

Generika-Ayala team manager Allyn Sta. Maria said their other import in Katarina Pilepic of Croatia is set to arrive Friday night while libero Kimberly Gutierrez is due to land next week.

On the same note, F2 Logistics team manager Hollie Reyes said reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) Maria Jose Perez of Venezuela is due to arrive on Sunday while they are already inching closer to landing a deal with former Iriga City libero Minami Yoshioka of Japan.

“She (Maria) will be here on Sunday. We can’t wait to start training with her.”

More to come

With the imports of the five clubs already on board, only Cocolife and Petron are left with no foreign players in town.

Asset Managers team official Joshua Ylaya said Serbian Sara Klisura will be arriving on Tuesday while American Taylor Milton will land on Friday after joining her mom in her training for a big race.

In a message to Volleyverse, Milton expressed her regret for a “late arrival.”

“I’ll arrive on Jan. 26 and start training with the team right away.”

“I’m coming a little later than planned because I’m helping my mom train for this big race in New Zealand. She’s a triathlete and my biggest role model and I want to help her prep before we both leave at the end of January.”

Petron, on the other hand, will re-employ Americans Hillary Hurley and Lindsay Stalzer as well as Japanese libero Yuri Fukuda – the same trio that brought it to a deep run in the Grand Prix last year.

Multiple sources say Hurley, Stalzer and Fukuda will arrive also next week.