After figuring in a dramatic championship duel, Petron and F2 Logistics vowed to be more competitive when the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference erupts this Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Blaze Spikers’ coach Shaq Delos Santos said they are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to capture another crown following a successful run in the season-opening Grand Prix of this prestigious women’s club league bankrolled by Isuzu, SOGO Hotel and UCPB Gen with ESPN5, Hyper and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.
Petron may have lost the triumphant troika of Lindsay Stalzer, Katherine Bell and Yuri Fukuda, but it remains competitive following the return of Sisi Rondina, Bernadeth Pons and Buding Duremdes, as well as the recruitment of Ivana Agudo from Far Eastern University.
Delos Santos said Rondina and Pons are in great shape following a successful defense of their PSL Challenge Cup beach volleyball title last month.
“Aside from Sisi, Pons and Buding, we are coming into the Invitationals with an intact roster,” said Delos Santos, who is pinning his hopes on the veteran crew of Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Mika Reyes, Remy Palma, Carmela Tunay, Frances Molina and Rhea Dimaculangan.
“I think our chemistry and maturity will be our biggest advantage. We’re coming off a successful title run (in the Grand Prix), so I expect our level of play will be a notch higher.”
But Delos Santos said they would still work hard to achieve their goal in this battle that also has Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
“All teams have beefed up their roster. While I expect our players to play their best, we can’t be complacent. We still have to work hard because this tournament will be very tough.”
Also tipped to come up with a serious run for the crown is F2 Logistics.
The Cargo Movers rolled out the red carpet for the return of Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili, Desiree Cheng and Tim Tiamzon while adding rising star Michelle Cobb, who served as the chief playmaker when De La Salle University captured the UAAP crown early this year.
Prized mentor Ramil de Jesus will also make a grand return after skipping the Grand Prix to focus on his task as head coach of the Lady Spikers.
F2 Logistics team manager Hollie Reyes said they are eyeing no less than the title.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” said Reyes, adding that Majoy Baron, Aby Marano, Kim Fajardo, Ara Galang and Cha Cruz are all set to take the tournament by storm.
“As you can see, all teams are preparing for the Invitationals. We don’t want to be left behind. That’s why we’re bringing in a complete roster because we know the Invitationals will be a serious battle.”
The Cargo Movers will kick off their bid against Foton while Generika-Ayala clashes with United Auctioneers-UP in the first match of this blockbuster opening-day double-header.