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Bigger challenge in PSL

  • Written by Peoples Tonight
  • Published in Volleyball
  • Read: 271

HOPES are high on Generika-Ayala, Sta. Lucia Realty and Foton as they parade new mentors in the
Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix starting this Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena
in Pasig City.

After failing to advance to the semifinals last year, the Lifesavers would be marching as
dark horses after tapping Sherwin Meneses as new head coach in this prestigious club tourney
bankrolled by Asics, Mikasa, Mueller, Senoh, Grand Sport and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official
broadcast partner.
    
Meneses, an assistant coach when Ateneo de Manila won a couple of titles in the University
Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), would be making his debut after replacing national
team mentor Francis Vicente, who opted to focus on coaching University of the East in the UAAP.
    
He would be assisted by former Iriga City mentor Parley Tupas with Katarina Pilepic of
Croatia, Kimberly Gutierrez of Mexico and Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago as imports and
Angeli Araneta, Ria Meneses, Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain filling the local front.
    
On the same note, a mentor with rich championship experience will be at the helm for the
Lady Realtors in this tourney that also has Island Rose and LGR as official suppliers.
    
George Pascua, the architect of Petron’s 13-0 sweep of the All-Filipino Conference in 2015,
will handle Sta. Lucia after Jerry Yee decided to join a new team in another league.
    
Pascua, who is also the mentor of Far Eastern University, immediately put on his magic touch
as he recruited veterans Michelle Laborte and Rubie de Leon while retaining MJ Philips, Rebecca
Rivera, Pamela Lastimosa and Jonah Sabete to join imports Marisa Field and Kristen Moncks of Canada
and Bohdana Anisova of Ukraine.
    
“We want to see Micmic (Laborte) and Rubie mentoring our young players,” said Pascua, who is
eyeing no less than a semifinal finish in this battle that will formally kick off with formal
ceremonies at the Sta. Rosa City Sports Complex on Feb. 24.
    
“We have a promising young setter in Rebecca while MJ might see a lot of minutes at the
middle with the presence of the imports. So I want to see Rubie and Micmic take these young players
under their wings.”
    
Foton also made some key changes in its bench personnel.
    
An assistant coach for Philips Gold before blossoming into a three-time champion in the
other league, Rommel Abella was brought in by the Tornadoes after noted Serbian coach Moro Branislav
joined Cocolife.
    
Abella will be on top of a squad bolstered by imports Brooke Kanda of United States,
Elizabeth Wendel of Canada and Katarina Vukamanovic of Serbia with local stars Gen Casugod, Maika
Ortiz, Carmina Aganon and the returning Dindin Manabat at the attack zone.
    
“I’m both excited and nervous,” said Abella, referring to his first taste of a head coaching
role in the PSL. “But I’ll take it one game at a time”