By Jerome Lagunzad
(Ynares Sports Center)
2 p.m. – Generika-Ayala vs Foton
4 p.m. – Sta. Lucia vs Petron
Former two-time champion Foton embarks on a new journey with the same championship mentality against Generika-Ayala today as the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix gets off the wraps at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Serbian Katarina Vukamanovic is back for another tour of duty for the Tornadoes, who will parade new imports in American Brooke Kanda and Canadian Elizabeth Wendel in their 2 p.m. encounter with the Lifesavers, bannered by Trinidad and Tobago native Darlene Ramdin and American Symone Hayden.
Even without Serbian mentor Moro Branislav who’s already with Cocolife, Foton is determined to move on under the tutelage of seasoned tactician Rommel Abella aside from the presence of its solid local cast led by hitter Dindin Santiago-Manabat.
Generika-Ayala, now handled by Ateneo assistant Sherwin Meneses, is raring to make up for lost ground following its seventh-place finish last year with a souped-up local crew led by Ria Meneses, April Ross Hingpit and Bang Pineda whom they all acquired from powerhouse Petron in the off-season.
The Blaze Spikers, who ended up as bridesmaid to formidable F2 Logistics Cargo Movers last year, remain a genuine force to be reckoned with behind the presence of their touted American imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley.
Japanese libero Yuri Fukuda is also back to bolster Petron’s floor defense while the veteran core of Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Frances Molina and Rhea Dimaculangan is expected to rise to the occasion anew.
Petron also made some key moves by hiring middle blocker Luth Malaluan, setter Angelica Legacion and libero Pia Gaiser, who will making her PSL debut after suffering knee injury in her final playing year for University of the Philippines in the UAAP.
“We will do our best to step up this year,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos. “Our goal is to finally win the title this year. We haven’t won the Grand Prix crown since 2014 and I can say that we’re all hungry and ready to win.”