Heavyweights F2 Logistics and Petron have their sights on the semifinals when they tackle separate foes in the sudden-death quarterfinals showdown of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix today at The Arena in San Juan City.
After topping the eliminations, the Cargo Movers are heavily favored to dominate newcomer Iriga City in the 4:15 p.m. appetizer.
On the same note, second seed Petron is also expected to advance when they clash with Generika-Ayala in the 7 p.m. main battle of this tourney that also has Gerflor and Gold’s Gym as technical sponsors and ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
Overflowing with firepower, experience and confidence, Petron is billed as the league’s hottest team after shutting down the single-round eliminations with four straight victories, including a four-set demolition of erstwhile-unbeaten Foton on November 14.
In their latest match against Cocolife last week, the Blaze Spikers further asserted their dominance as American imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley delivered another strong performance to claim their seventh victory in eight matches.
With that, the Blaze Spikers formally assumed the second spot in the quarterfinals behind leader F2 Logistics as they emerged with identical 7-1 cards.
F2 Logistis took the top spot due to a superior quotient over Petron and Foton.
Cignal ended up at fourth while Cocolife, Sta. Lucia Realty, Generika-Ayala and Iriga City wound up fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth seeds, respectively.
The HD Spikers clash with the Asset Managers while the Tornadoes face the Lady Realtors in other quarterfinal pairings on Thursday at the same venue.
Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos admitted that his wards are already reaching their peak, but they still have to be prepared, especially against a very dangerous team like the Lifesavers.
“At this point, we can’t underestimate anybody. We still have to prepare and play our hearts out because anything can happen,” said Delos Santos, who was part of the coaching staff when Petron notched a historic 13-0 sweep of the All-Filipino Conference two years ago.
“Things get tough from here. This is already the quarterfinals. One miss and you’re out. There’s no more room for errors. You have to give your best every set.”
Facing a hungry team like Generika-Ayala could be very dangerous.
Bannered by Katarina Pilepic of Croatia and Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago, the Lifesavers had a four-set meltdown against the Lady Realtors to close the eliminations with a 3-5 mark.
But that sorry development is now a thing of the past as Generika-Ayala head coach Francis Vicente expressed eagerness to bounce back and score an earth-shaking upset of powerhouse Petron.
“Anything is possible,” said Vicente, adding that his local crew of Chloe Cortez, Shaya Adorador, Fiola Ceballos and Bia General all vowed to come up with a major rebound. “We just have to work hard and hope for the best.”