(FilOil Flying V Center)
4 p.m. – RC Cola-Army vs Petron
6 p.m. – Foton vs F2 Logistics
Foton enjoys a slight edge over F2 Logistics when they clash in the best-of-three finals series of the 2016 Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference starting Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
RC Cola-Army coach Kungfu Reyes said the Tornadoes possess the height, firepower and experience to overthrow the Cargo Movers in the finals of this premier inter-club tourney bankrolled by KLab Cyscorpions, Mueller, Mikasa and Asics with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
Reyes, whose Lady Troopers will battle reigning champion Petron in the sudden-death battle for third also on Thursday, noted that skyscraper Jaja Santiago and Maika Ortiz will be too tough to handle while wing spiker Cherry Rondina, Patty Orendain and EJ Laure have the edge when it comes to delivering the offensive spunk.
F2 Logistics crushed Foton in the first round, 25-11, 25-23, 25-14.
But the Tornadoes stormed back stronger, better than before, as they punched an emphatic 19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 win in the second round to hand the Cargo Movers their first and only loss of the season.
“Foton is peaking at the right time, which makes it even more dangerous,” said Reyes.
“I go for Foton here. They have the power, the experience and the height to match or even surpass F2 Logistics. Yes, the core of F2 Logistics is fresh from winning the UAAP crown, but you can’t deny the fact that Foton also won the Grand Prix crown last year.”
A pair of legends in Nene Chavez and Mayie Prochina share Reyes’ sentiment.
A star spiker when the Philippines won its last Southeast Asian Games crown in 1993, Chavez said Foton would be a tough nut to crack as Santiago is slowly blossoming into a solid force in the middle. And when she rotates a veteran blocker in Ortiz can also get the job done.
“Jaja is 6-foot-5 and you can never teach height,” said Chavez, the Standard Insurance-Navy mentor who is married to national boxing coach Ronald Chavez. “Foton is playing a perfect game at this point. Halos walang butas. Everybody in the rotation is contributing.”
Prochina, for her part, said it’s an evenly matched battle, but F2 Logistics has to play a perfect team game on both ends if it wants to pull the rug from under Foton.
“F2 Logistics obviously has been together and won a UAAP championship with La Salle,” said Prochina, who is serving as assistant coach in Generika. “But they have to find ways to match the firepower of Rondina and Laure and stop the giants of Foton. F2 Logistics has the edge with experience on its side, but this is a team game so whoever jells well as a team will win the series. I still go for Foton.”