Binan City—Reigning champion Petron looks to tighten its grip on the overall lead when it tangles with slumping Cignal in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Saturday at the Alonte Sports Arena here.
Action starts at 6 p.m. with the well-oiled Blaze Spikers hunting their ninth win in this prestigious women’s club league bankrolled by Asics, Mueller, Mikasa, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Cocolife, Hotel Sogo and Data Project.
On the same note, Petron’s rival F2 Logistics seeks to extend its winning ways when it tackles PLDT in the 4 p.m. appetizer of this explosive weekend double-header that also has ESPN5 and 5Plus as broadcast partners.
After absorbing their lone loss of the season—a four-set heartbreaker to the Blaze Spikers—the Cargo Movers have regained their deadly form as they posted convincing victories over PLDT and United VC.
Against United VC, Lindsay Stalzer was on fire at the attack zone while Becky Perry, Ara Galang and Majoy Baron provided ample support as they combined for 30 points that prompted the Cargo Movers to pull off a 25-22, 25-21, 25-22 triumph.
And to further boost its lineup, F2 Logistics will bring in University of Perpetual Help System Dalta star Cindy Imbo to replace the injured Kim Kianna Dy in the rotation.
“Cindy will start playing with us against PLDT on Saturday,” said F2 Logistics team manager Hollie Reyes, referring to the high-flying spiker, who was the hero in the Lady Altas’ furious run in the Final Four of the NCAA recently.
Still, spotlight will be trained on Petron.
With eight straight wins under their belts, the Blaze Spikers appear indestructible, thanks to the explosive performance of imports Katherine Bell and Stephanie Niemer with the local crew of Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Mika Reyes, Denden Lazaro, Rhea Dimaculangan and Frances Molina back them up.
Their recent match against Foton was a complete show of force as Bell and Niemer dominated en route to an emphatic 25-20, 25-13, 25-21 victory.
But head coach Shaq Delos Santos refused to be complacent.
“It’s one thing that I always tell them, to always treat the game as if we’re the underdog,” Delos Santos said. “It’s good that we’re on a winning streak but what’s difficult about it is that sometimes we tend to be complacent.”
“But I’m sure that my players are aware of our goal so I have nothing to worry about.”
Winning over Cignal won’t be easy, though.
Coming off a three-set loss to Generika-Ayala last Thursday, 17-25, 20-25, 22-25the HD Spikers vowed to make the necessary adjustments to pull off a massive upset of the Blaze Spikers.
“We made some adjustments, especially on our import’s playing position, it will be our game plan against Petron,” said Cignal coach Edgar Barroga.
“It was a tough loss but we will bounce back, we will go back to the drawing board and start again.”