Powerful Cignal also tries to formalize its entry in the semifinals when it battles new team Cocolife in the Belo-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference today at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
The HD Spikers gun for their fourth victory to join idle Petron in the next round of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Senoh, Mueller, Mikasa and Asics with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
In the 5 pm curtain-raiser of this competition that also has UCPB Gen as official insurance provider and Gold’s Gym as official fitness partner, Generika-Ayala seeks to improve its standing when it collides with Sta. Lucia, which has yet to book a single win in three starts.
But all eyes will be on the HD Spikers.
After suffering a sorry five-set defeat from the hands of Petron, Cignal seems back to its old, deadly self as it crushed Generika-Ayala in four sets, 26-24, 23-25, 26-24, 25-14, late Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
National team pool members Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis were impressive while Royse Tubino and Cherry Vivas provided solid support for the HD Spikers, who are said to be the strongest team on paper due to their experience, skills, talent and power.
The four veterans carried bulk of the offense as they connived for 45 of Cignal’s 50 attack points.
The HD Spikers also exposed the Lifesavers’ sluggish reception as they dropped 13 aces, much to the delight of Cignal coach George Pascua who admitted that they are still a work in progress.
“It’s still a long way to go,” said Pascua, the architect of Petron’s historic 13-0 sweep of the PSL All-Filipino Conference two years ago.
“While we’ll be glad to make it to the semis, we still have to work hard on both ends and develop that winning chemistry. Madami pa kaming kailangan ayusin, especially if we want to make it to the semis. We’re still adjusting.”
Pascua added that they just couldn’t afford to take the Asset Managers for granted.
Fresh from tallying the franchise’s first victory over the Lady Realtors, 22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-16, Cocolife is expected to march to the war zone in high morale.
Cocolife head coach Obet Javier said although it would take a miracle for them to advance to the next round, they would still play their hearts in their next remaining games.
“We will play for pride in our next few games,” he said, noting that the confidence of his young wards in Rhea Ramirez, Jovielyn Prado, Regine Arocha and Andrea Marzan soared due to their impressive victory over the Lady Realtors.
“It feels good to finally win. At least medyo tumaas ang kumpyansa ng mga bata.”
Aside from the core of NCAA champion Arellano University, Javier will be banking on skipper Michele Gumabao, Wensh Tiu and Iris Patrona for the firepower and former Ateneo star Denise Lazaro for the defensive backbone.