By Jerome Lagunzad
(The Arena, San Juan City)
4:15 p.m. – Iriga City vs Generika-Ayala
7:00 p.m. – Victoria Sports-UST vs Petron
Powerhouse Petron and three other teams take center stage today at The Arena in San Juan City, all eager to get back on the winning track in the 2017 Chooks To Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix.
The Blaze Spikers, smarting from a four-set loss to the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in Bacolod City over the weekend, are favored to regain their winning form in their 7 p.m. showdown with the Tigresses of Victoria Sports-University of Santo Tomas.
Newcomer Iriga City, still trying to move on following the hefty one-year suspension slapped by tournament organizers to Grethcel Soltones, squares off with Generika-Ayala in the 4:15 p.m. opener.
The Oragons quickly found out that life without Soltones, a three-time NCAA MVP, is tough as they fell prey to the Tornadoes in straight-set last Tuesday, leaving Iriga City coach Parley Tupaz disappointed no end.
“Malaking bagay na nawala si Grethcel,” lamented Tupaz of the former San Sebastian star. “Parang hindi rin naglaro ang mga locals ko nang maigi. ‘Yung mga imports (Serbian Tamara Kmezic and Japanese Saama Miyagawa) lang ang nagpakita.”
The Lifesavers are also facing the same predicament since they they have dropped their last two matches and three of their first four matches, keeping them at the lower-half of the nine-team field.
Victoria Sports-UST, which gave Cocolife all it could handle before dropping a 19-25, 25-16, 17-25, 20-25 decision on its league debut last Tuesday night, is expected to lean on Japanese import Yukie Inamasu aside from up-and-coming Carlo Sandoval and Dimdim Pacres, who finished with 14 points each the last time out.
Meanwhile, F2 Logictics, built around the core of reigning UAAP titlist La Salle, continued to prove it’s as good as advertised by romping past free-falling Sta. Lucia 25-16, 25-23, 25-23 for its second straight victory Tuesday night.
American import Kennedy Bryan and touted Venezuelan reinforcement Maria Jose Perez combined for 25 points to help the Cargo Movers sustain their perfect start. The Lady Realtors, meanwhile, remained winless after three starts.