The Giligan’s Sisig Kings go for the sweep in the men’s division of the Philippine SuperLiga as they battle the Systema Smashers on November 23 at the Ynares Sports Arena. Meanwhile, two teams in the women’s division who are without wins face different opponents as the RC Cola Raiders meet Cignal HD and Petron Blaze faces the TMS-Philippine Army Troopers.
Giligan’s last saw action about a week ago when they went through five sets against opening day winner PLDT MyDSL. Coach Frank Mauricio will depend on JP Torres and Salvador Depante to complete the elimination round undefeated and secure the first seed going into the semifinals.
When asked about achieving the sweep, Mauricio said, “Hopefully, but we have to practice pa. Naswertehan lang (the win against PLDT MyDSL).”
He mentioned that he set up two training sessions to prepare themselves against their much taller opponents, which went through their own five-setter against the Maybank Tigers recently.
Coach Kim Rebong of the Smashers will rely on the towering AJ Pareja, the bulky Sylvester Gil Honrade, and the agile Chris Macasaet.
In the first match featured for this playdate, Cignal will ride on the momentum they got in their first win of the tournament as they go opposite winless RC Cola. Coach Sammy Acaylar, though is still smarting from the lack of communication among his players.
“Nasa adjusting period pa rin kami,” Acaylar said of his Chinese reinforcements, Xie Lei and Li Zhanzhan.
“Sa training, it’s ok kasi mahaba ang training namin,” he adds, however, it is a different case during actual games as translating his instructions consumes the time given for timeouts.
Another concern he wants addressed is his team’s intensity as he wants to see them exude more exuberance when they are on the court. Aside from the imports, those who are expected to step up for the HD Spikers are the Lasallian trio of Maureen Penetrante-Ouano, Chie Saet, and Michelle Datuin, as well as Abigail Praca, who provided energy off the bench in their win.
On the other end, coach Ronald Dulay is trying to solve the puzzle of how his Raiders can go over the hump as they have lost in straight sets after winning the first. In their most recent match against Cagayan Valley, they went to their imports Sontaya Keawbundit and Zhang Minghua almost exclusively. Locals such as Bernice Co, Michiko Castaneda, and Renalyn Argero are hoped to deliver this time around.
In the other womens’ division match, both the Blaze Spikers and TMS Army Troopers are coming off losses. Petron is currently at 0-2 after losing to the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns and Cignal HD, while Army dropped its match against PLDT MyDSL after winning its first two.
“Yung dalawang foreign (players) namin, nagko-connect na sila sa amin. Nakukuha na nila kung saan nila dadalhin (the ball),” said TMS Army coach Rico de Guzman.
Their loss to the Speed Boosters showed the chinks in the armor that the defending champions have to work on.
“Basta maganda lang lagi ang receive, hindi kami mahihirapan,” mentioned de Guzman. “Kailangan lang namin mamaintain ang receive at opensa.”
Wanitchaya Luangtonglang is out to recover from her lackluster showing last time out, while Jovelyn Gonzaga, Jacqueline Alarca, Tina Salak, and off the bench sparkplug Rachel Anne Daquis pick up the pieces.
Petron will be bannered by Stephanie Mercado, Gretchen Ho, Dzi Gervacio, and Michelle Laborte.
The sponsors of the PSL Grand Prix are Asics, Healthway, Island Rose, Jinling Sports, LGR, Mikasa, and Maynilad. -JP Abcede