Cocolife shoots for a quarterfinal incentive when it clashes with Smart in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix Saturday at the Batangas City Sports Center.
Battle is set at 6 pm with the Asset Managers looking for an important victory to pocket one of the four twice-to-beat incentives in the quarterfinals of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
Also gunning for a crucial victory is Foton, which will face Generika-Ayala at 4 pm in this league that also has Senoh, Mikasa, Asics, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
Despite hammering contrasting fortunes in their previous matches, powerhouses Petron and F2 Logistics have already clinched the first two twice-to-beat incentives after posting identical 8-1 marks entering the crucial stretch of the classification phase.
Cocolife (5-4), Foton (4-4) and Sta. Lucia Realty (4-5) are pressured to score crucial victories to formalize their claim of the last two remaining quarterfinal incentives and to march into the next round oozing with confidence.
The Asset Managers, however, are in a perfect position to bag the incentive as they battle the Giga Hitters, who have yet to win a single match despite the effort of hard-hitting Cuban reinforcement Gyselle Silva.
But Cocolife coach Moro Branislav vows to be careful.
“For me, Smart is a dangerous team,” said Branislav, the noted Serbian mentor who guided Foton to the Grand Prix crown in 2015.
“Gyselle Silva is one of the most talented imports in this conference and her team will be playing with nothing to lose. If Silva will play the way she’s playing in their last two or three matches and the locals will support her, then we’ll be in big trouble.”
Branislav stressed that although they swept Smart in their first meeting, 25-20, 25-22, 25-13, the Giga Hitters had improved tremendously as the chemistry among Silva, Sonja Trivunovic and the local players like Janeth Serafica, Maureen Penetrante-Ouano, Jeanie Delos Reyes and Genie Sabas is well.
“This is already a different Smart team,” he said, noting that Trivunovic and Penetrante-Ouano were not yet part of the team in their first meeting.
“I expect this team to be at its best. They will surely go for the win to gain momentum in the quarterfinals.”
Branislav, for his part, will pin his hopes on Serbian Sara Klisura and American Taylor Milton as well as the local crew composed of Tina Salak, Mary Jean Balse-Pabayo, Joanne Bunag and star libero Denden Lazaro.