Yuri to fuel Petron’s title drive

Thursday, 03 Aug 2017
Julius Manicad - @JCManicad

A prolific defender from Japan is will be booking a return flight to Manila to see action in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix next month.

Yuri Fukuda formally reached an agreement with Petron, making her the first foreign player to confirm her participation in the season-ending conference of the prestigious women’s club league.

The 30-year old Fukuda is no stranger to the Philippines’ brand of game.

She was one of the seven imports who campaigned for PSL Manila squad in the FIVB Women’s Club Championship last year together with Yevgeniya Nyukhalova of Ukraine, Ekaterina Krivets of Russia, Tichaya Boonlert of Thailand, Lynda Morales of Puerto Rico and Stephanie Niemer and Lindsay Stalzer of the United States.

They played with local players Kim Fajardo, Jen Reyes, Rachel Anne Daquis, Mika Reyes, Frances Molina, Jaja Santiago and Jovelyn Gonzaga in the biggest, most glamorous, club tournament in the world.

And it made her transfer to Petron a lot easier.

“Yes, I will be returning to Manila to play for Petron in September.”

Fan-favorite

It didn’t take long before Fukuda won the hearts of local fans.

She plays with a lot of energy and passion while expertly manning the backline against world’s best club teams like Rexona Sesc of Brazil, Bangkok Glass of Thailand, Pomo Casalmaggiore of Italy, Hisamitsu Springs of Japan and champion Eczacibasi VitrA of Turkey.

Fans wouldn’t forget how she saves the ball through her patented dolphin dives and her joyful celebration after every successful play.

The source said Petron management took that into consideration.

“They tasked coach Yani (Ian Fernandez) to contact her and inquire about her condition and availability.”
“Of course, we know that coach Yani was with the PSL Manila squad during the World Club Championship, so it was easy for Petron to contact her and reach an agreement with her.”

The source added that Fukuda would be replacing young libero Buding Duremdes in the rotation. The other import, a spiker, would be tasked to fill the void that would be left by Chin Basas.
Duremdes and Basas would be rejoining their university team – Far Eastern University – in the collegiate battle in the Premier Volleyball League.

The source said winning the Grand Prix means a lot to the Blaze Spikers, especially since they haven’t won the crown since 2015 when American Alaina Bergsma and Brazilian Erika Adachi served as their reinforcements.

“Petron is the champion in the All-Filipino Conference. That’s why the management is leaving no stone unturned in coming up with another strong team for the Grand Prix.”
“I think Yuri can be a big help.”