Cagayan, TMS Army battle for the top in women’s; Giligan’s and PLDT MyDSL go for win #2

Early leaders Cagayan Valley Rising Suns and TMS Army Troopers will try to stay undefeated in the Philippine SuperLiga Grand Prix as they face each other on November 15 at 2pm at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

It is the same case in the men’s division as opening day winner PLDT MyDSL will collide with Giligan’s for the right to become the first team to reach its second victory. In the other women’s division clash, Cignal and Petron are targeting to get a notch in the win column after dropping their respective initial encounters.

Cagayan Valley took out the Petron Blaze Spikers on November 10 in straight sets, 25-20, 25-14, 25-22, while TMS Army encountered some resistance against RC Cola in the first set before getting the next three, 19-25, 25-15, 25-21, 25-16.

The Rising Suns will bank on the frontline of Wanida Kotruang and Sandra delos Santos as well as the experience of Pau Soriano and Aiza Maizo-Fontillas. On the other hand, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Jacqueline Alarca will be at the helm of the Troopers with Wanitchaya Luangtonglang helping them out.

With only two days to prepare, TMS coach Rico de Guzman admits that they are still making adjustments especially with his reinforcements.

“Nahihiya pa silang gumalaw,” de Guzman said. “Katulad sa practice namin, medyo hindi sila nagsasalita. Kung ano lang yung binigay naming play, iyon lang gagawin nila.”

As for the opposition, the enlisted mentor mentioned, “Tuwing kami naghaharap nun, nahihirapan kami. Sa Friday, bibigyan namin sila ng magandang laban. Lalo na nadagdag si Wanitchaya, lumakas ang aming offense.”

And Cagayan coach Nes Pamilar agrees with that assessment, “Nakuha nila kulang nila kaya tamang-tama nakuha nila iyong Thai. Balanse team nila.”

For the champions to go 2-0, de Guzman cited the importance of having an experienced setter as well as a libero that can receive properly to make things easier to set up the offense.

“Ang advantage ko lang dyan si Tina (Salak). Malaking factor si Tina para sa akin. Beterano na kasi maglaro at magaling dumiskarte,” he stated.

In the men’s side, Speed Boosters mentor Francis Vicente hopes to continue to build the momentum of their 25-23, 25-23, 25-22 win against Systema where Richard Gomez and Kheeno Franco led the way.

“Ang advantage namin siguro is nakapag-ensayo kami, iyung physical at mental [conditioning],” Vicente opined, stating that they prepared for about two months for this tournament. “Lagi silang nagp-practice (and) they are always present. Nagiging close na sila at magkakasundo sila. Para silang magkakaibigan talaga.”

Since this is the first men’s division tournament, Vicente is not leaving anything to chance as he plans to gather as much as information as he can about the other teams.

“I asked the PLDT management to tape the games para mabasa namin,” he shared.

Frank Mauricio of the Sisig Kings, meanwhile, only has two days between his first two games as his wards’ conditioning will be tested.

“OK naman ang skills nila kaso nga lang we have to enhance lalo na stamina. Nakita mo naman napapagod na,” Mauricio referred to their first assignment against Maybank which they won, 25-23, 27-25, 26-24. “Iyon ang palalakasin namin, yung strengthening ng muscles. Palalakasin namin stamina namin.”

JP Torres and Salvador Depante III are expected to step up for Giligan’s.

Finally, Petron plans to recover after succumbing to the Rising Suns on Sunday. Dzi Gervacio and Tanaka Shinako were the few bright spots in the Blaze Spikers’ first match.

In the other end, the Cignal HD Spikers were bested by sister team PLDT in four sets. In that contest, it was the Chinese duo of Xie Lei and Li Zhanzhan who delivered for Cignal. Still, more are expected from former De La Salle Lady Spikers Michelle Datuin and Maureen Penetrante-Ouano. –JP Abcede