(FilOil Flying V Center)
5 p.m. -- Petron vs. F2 Logistics
7 p.m. -- Generika vs. RC Cola-Army
PETRON guns for the early lead while RC Cola-Army makes its highly anticipated debut in the 2016 Asics Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix presented by PLDT Home Ultera today (Tuesday) at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
After hammering an impressive conquest of Generika in the opener, the Tri-Activ Spikers will gun for No. 2 when they lock horns with a depleted F2 Logistics squad in the 5 p.m. appetizer of this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Mueller, Grand Sport and Senoh with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
Meanwhile, the Lady Troopers are tipped to march with an intact roster when they face the Lifesavers in the 7 p.m. match of this event that also has Focus Athletics, KLab Cyscorpions, Foton, Petron and F2 Logistics as sponsors.
After falling short in the PSL All-Filipino Conference, hopes are high for RC Cola-Army, especially with skipper Jovelyn Gonzaga, Royce Tubino, Tina Salak, Nene Bautista, Michelle Carolino and Rachel Anne Daquis returning for another tour of duty.
They will be powered by Hailie Ripley and Kierra Holst, a gem of an open hitter who campaigned for the US juniors national team in the 2013 FIVB Women’s Juniors World Championship in the Czech Republic.
RC Cola-Army coach Kungfu Reyes, however, downplayed their chances this conference, saying that all teams have done their respective homework as far as upgrading their rosters is concerned.
“Again, age is a major factor for us this conference,” said Reyes, whose wards settled for third-place in the All-Filipino after their top gunner in Daquis crashed with a foot injury in the crucial stretch.
“But I’m still happy with kind of lineup that I have. The team is intact and everybody is healthy. Although I can’t say that we will win the crown; but I’m pretty sure that we will come up with a serious run.”
But against Generika, the Lady Troopers will be tested as the Lifesavers will also parade an intact core powered by former Trinidad and Tobago national player Darlene Ramdin and Polina Liutikova of Ukraine.
“They are young and hungry. We have to be very careful against them,” said Reyes, noting the vast improvement of his players at University of Santo Tomas in Chloe Cortez and Ria Meneses who will be suiting up for the Lifesavers together with Shaya Adorador, Gen Casugod and veteran playmaker Rubie de Leon.
Also expected to attract another massive crowd in the last playing day before the league takes a three-week break is the match between Petron and crowd darling F2 Logistics in the first game.
Despite flying under the radar, the Tri-Activ Spikers came up with an impressive performance as import Stephanie Niemer lit the scoreboard while Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and newly-appointed team captain Frances Molina provided support in their 25-18, 25-23, 25-14 victory over the Lifesavers in the opener.
Niemer tallied 15 kills and three aces for 18 points while Maizo-Pontillas and Molina chipped in 10 markers apiece for Petron, which ruled the 2014 edition of the Grand Prix before emerging as runner-up last year.
“We’re still working on our chemistry,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos. “Hopefully we gain the championship form we had in the past two years.”
The Tri-Activ Spikers will be stacked against the Cargo Movers, who are still missing the presence of American import Hayley Spelman and wing spiker Ara Galang.
Spelman will be arriving late Tuesday night while Galang is still resting her knee injury, leaving import Sydney Kemper and local players Aby Marano, Cha Cruz, Kim Dy, Mika Reyes and Kim Fajardo carrying the load.