by Jerome Lagunzad
Streaking Petron and defending champion F2 Logistics look to sustain their momentum in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix today at the Baliuag Star Arena in Bulacan.
After sweeping the first round, the Petron Blaze Spikers gun for their eighth consecutive victory against winless Smart in Pool A at 4 p.m.
The F2 Cargo Movers, on a 4-0 streak, face a tougher grind in their 6 p.m. encounter with Generika-Ayala in Pool B.
Teams in both pools will play another round of action to determine their quarterfinal placings. The survivors in the quarterfinals will then advance to the best-of-three semifinals for a chance to see action in another race-to-two battle in the finals.
All eyes will be on Petron’s touted import duo of Americans Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley who will in for another slam-bang encounter against Smart’s gem of an import in Gyselle Silva, who is coming off a 40-point explosion the last time out.
The Blaze Spikers handled the Giga Hitters with ease behind a dominant straight-sets victory in the first round, but Petron won’t have to expect such cruise since Smart will field another import this time in Serbian Sanja Trivunovic.
A fair share of the spotlight is also expected to fall on the main match, with new recruits Lourdes Clemente, Minami Yoshioka and returnee Ara Galang tipped to deliver ample contributions for F2 Logistics.
Those three locals played huge roles in the Cargo Movers’ 25-18, 25-16, 25-12 victory over the Lifesavers last week and F2 Logistics coach Arnold Laniog is expecting nothing less than a better performance.
“Now that the first round is over, we expect our new players to blend well with the holdovers,” he said. “Although I can see the improvement every game, our job is not yet done. We’re expecting a tougher battle in the second round so we have to be ready.”
The Lifesavers should come in with enough confidence after scoring a thrilling 26-24, 18-25, 16-25, 25-22, 15-11 win over the Cignal HD Spikers last Tuesday, with imports Darlene Ramdin and Symone Hayden doing most of the damage.
“We still have to work hard and improve our lapses,” said Generika-Ayala head coach Sherwin Meneses. “We’re now in the second round and every game is now very crucial. We have to be at our best every set of every game.”