All eyes will be on Foton as they parade their powerful roster in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference that unwraps this Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After netting Ateneo de Manila University superstar Bea de Leon, the Tornadoes suddenly emerged as the team to beat in this prestigious women’s club league bankrolled by Isuzu, SOGO Hotel, and UCPB Gen with ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as official broadcast partners.
Foton team owner Rommel Sytin said the presence of the 5-foot-11 de Leon ultimately bolstered their frontline that already features 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago and 6-foot-1 Dindin Manabat as well as national pool members Maika Ortiz, CJ Rosario and Gen Casugod.
Aside from de Leon, the Tornadoes also netted University of the East star Shaya Adorador to provide support in the scoring department.
Sytin said their main objective is to conquer their first Invitational Conference title after ruling the Grand Prix in 2015 and 2016.
“As the league becomes competitive, we’ll see how our ‘Triple Tower’ of Bea, Dindin and Jaja can blend together to give us our first ever Invitationals championship,” said Sytin, an avid sportsman and president of Foton Motor Philippines, Inc.
“They’ve all played together and chemistry will not be a problem. Although this is their first time to play together after college, their partnership will surely bring a lot of excitement to PSL fans.”
But winning the crown in this tourney that also has Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller and Grand Sport will be easier said than done.
Petron will march with an intact roster composed of Mika Reyes, Rhea Dimaculangan, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Frances Molina while F2 Logistics will welcome the return of La Salle stalwarts Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili and Desiree Cheng to join the solid core of Kim Fajardo, Aby Maraño and Majoy Baron.
Another emerging powerhouse is Sta. Lucia Realty who will parade another former Ateneo star Jhoanna Maraguinot together with UAAP standouts Jeanette Villareal, Toni Rose Basas, Carly Hernandez and Roselle Baliton.
Sytin said “I think we have a good chance. Petron and F2 Logistics continue to be the teams to beat while Sta. Lucia is also tough with its new acquisitions. But with our recruitment of Bea, we are expecting to be competitive and a new spectrum of fan base that will benefit Foton and the PSL.”
The Tornadoes will open their campaign against the Cargo Movers following the battle between Generika-Ayala and United Auctioneers-UP.
June 23 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
3pm OPENING CEREMONIES
4pm Generika-Ayala v United Auctioneers / UP
6pm Foton v F2 Logistics