It's now or never for Generika-Ayala and PLDT Home Fibr as they dispute the last semifinal seat in a sudden-death battle in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix today at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Action starts at 4 p.m. with both the Lifesavers and the Power Hitters looking to catch the last bus to the next round of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Asics, Mueller, Mikasa, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Cocolife, Hotel Sogo and Data Project.
Reigning champion Petron was the first to book a seat in the semifinals when it crushed Sta. Lucia in straight sets. Then, Cignal followed with a masterful conquest of United VC in the second game.
On the contrary, F2 Logistics threaded the eye of a needle before surviving a rejuvenated Foton side, 25-22, 25-27, 25-21, 25-19, in a quarterfinal showdown late Thursday that has ESPN5 and 5Plus as broadcast partners.
Lindsay Stalzer and MJ Perez—two of the best foreign players ever to compete in the country—displayed their championship form to deliver the crucial blows down the stretch.
Stalzer finished with 26 points while Perez notched 21 hits for the Cargo Movers, who also banked on the local crew of Aby Marano, Alex Cabanos, Dawn Macandili and Ara Galang in completing the great escape.
The Cargo Movers are now waiting for their foes in the best-of-three semifinal series, making the kill-or-be killed battle between the Lifesavers and Power Hitters a must-watch.
PLDT marched into the quarterfinals with a twice-to-beat advantage after finishing fourth in the double-round classification.
But that edge was completely washed away after Generika-Ayala pulled off a four-set conquest in their first quarterfinal encounter last Tuesday.
Generika-Ayala coach Sherwin Meneses said there’s no assurance that they can duplicate that feat, but they will go all out to advance to the semifinals and match their finish in the All-Filipino Conference last year.
“This is a golden opportunity for us to make it back to the semis. We will definitely not waste it,” said Meneses, looking forward to another impressive performance from his imports Kseniya Kocyigit of Azerbaijan and Kanjana Kuthaisong of Thailand as well as Fiola Ceballos, Angeli Araneta, Ria Meneses and Patty Orendain.
“I told the girls to just maintain what they are doing. If they can double the effort they showed in Game 1, that would be great.”
Meneses, however, admitted that pulling off another upset is easier said than done, especially since the Power Hitters are known as a disciplined team handled by a seasoned mentor in Roger Gorayeb.
“PLDT is capable of mounting a comeback,” he said, adding that imports Grace Lazard and Kendra Dahlke as well as local stars Aiko Urdas, Jasmine Nabor and Gretchel Soltones are all capable of rallying the Power Hitters back in contention.
“We have to be ready and prepared for what lies ahead.”