Imus City—The battle for survival kicks off as F2 Logistics and Sta. Lucia Realty shoot for the third semifinal berth in a do-or-die quarterfinal collision of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference Tuesday at the Imus Center here.
Action starts at 7 p.m. with the Cargo Movers and Lady Realtors fighting for the right to face unbeaten Cignal in the knockout semifinals of this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, UCPB Gen and SOGO Hotel with ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.
Prior to that, the bottom four teams begin their classification battle for the 7th to 10th places in this midseason conference that also has Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
Foton, which did not reach expectations with a 1-3 finish in Pool A, tries to ease the pain of its dismal campaign as it battles winless University of the East-Cherrylume at 2 pm while Cocolife clashes with University of the Philippines-United Auctioneers Inc. (UP-UAI) in the other classifications encounter at 4:15 p.m.
The winners clash for the seventh spot while the losers will be relegated to the battle for ninth place on Thursday.
The sudden-death semifinals, meanwhile, are set this Saturday with Petron and Cignal waiting for their foes.
After blowing their chances to for an outright semifinal berth following a 16-25, 25-21, 20-25, 26-24 to bitter rival Petron, the Cargo Movers are tipped to go all out to step into the next round.
“We cannot afford to lose anymore or else we’re done for the conference,” said F2 Logistics head coach Ramil De Jesus, whose wards played flat against the powerhouse Blaze Spikers.
“We have to forget our recent loss and I know that my players will bounce back stronger.”
De Jesus believes that their off-game came at the wrong time as Ara Galang, Michelle Morente and Aby Maraño served as the only bright spots, allowing the likes of Mika Reyes, Rhea Dimaculangan and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas to dominate for Petron.
“Petron deserved that win. They played well, more prepared and executed their plays. Unlike us we had a lot of lapses and played off.”
“The opportunity was there but we lost it. We got one more this time and we cannot afford to lose this one,” he added.
On the same note, Sta. Lucia coach George Pascua, is also looking to draw more consistent performance from his wards bannered by the troika of MJ Phillips, Pam Lastimosa and setter Rebecca Rivera they finished the preliminaries with a 2-2 win-loss mark.
“We have to lessen our errors and be more consistent. My players need more push and strive harder to move forward,” he said.