Action and drama are expected to intensify as four teams figure in a heated race to the crown in the best-of-three semifinals of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix on Tuesday April 24 at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Reigning champion F2 Logistics clashes with Foton while Petron battles Cocolife in an explosive double-header of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
The Cargo Movers and the Blaze Spikers are marching into the series with slight advantage.
After clashing in a memorable finals showdown last year, both F2 Logistics and Petron shut down their classification round campaign on top with a 9-1 win-loss mark, sparking speculations that they are the team to beat in this battle that also has Senoh, Mikasa, Grand Sport, LGR and Asics as technical partners.
In the quarterfinals, the Cargo Movers had an easy time dominating Smart while Petron clobbered Generika-Ayala to march to the semifinals oozing with confidence.
But the semifinals will be an entirely different battle.
Foton is tipped to give F2 Logistics a hard time as they parade a pair of promising collegiate players Diana Mae Carlos and Isa Molde while their new import Channon Thompson is starting to develop chemistry with mainstays Dindin Manabat, CJ Rosario, Maika Ortiz, Gyselle Sy and Canadian reinforcement Elizabeth Wendel.
More than that, there’s also a good chance for former Most Valuable Player Jaja Santiago to suit up pending the outcome of the Final Four battle between National University and De La Salle University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.
“Although we want her team (NU) to make it all the way to the UAAP finals, having Jaja back in the team will still be a big boost to us,” said Foton head coach Rommel Abella following a straight-set victory over Sta. Lucia in the quarterfinals.
Abella added that F2 Logistics is such a strong team and the semifinals would not longer be a match of talent or strategy but a battle of desire and character.
“We should want it more than them,” he said. “F2 Logistics is very strong and disciplined team. But of course they still have some lapses. And we should be ready to pounce on those lapses.”
On the same note, Cocolife is also serious to make its first finals appearance.
Head coach Moro Branislav said their new import Marta Drpa is already getting familiar to the Filipino brand of game and could be a big help to key players like Royse Tubino, Tina Salak, Denden Lazaro and fellow Serbian Sara Klisura on both ends of the floor.
In fact, in their previous match against Cignal, Drpa displayed her versatility as she delivered 11 digs and four blocks on top of 15 kills to finish with 19 points to tow the Asset Managers to the semifinals.
“She is coming along very well. I’m sure she will be ready for the semifinals contra Petron,” said Branislav, admitting that the Blaze Spikers have the most fluid roster in the tournament.
“Petron is the best team this season. I must admit that. But it still lost a match. It still has some flaws. We have to put our best foot forward to expose those flaws and convert it to a victory in the semifinals.”
Our next #PSLGrandPrix games will be Apr 24. We won’t be able to have it on Apr 21 because the venue is unavailable.
Apr 24 @FilOilSanJuan Game 1 of best of three semi finals
415pm Petron vs Cocolife
7pm @F2CargoMovers vs Foton
Buy tickets at the gate of the venue or SM Tickets P150. Both games live on ESPN5 and Cignal’s Hyper.