Leader F2 Logistics stakes its immaculate card when it battles another heavy contender in Cignal in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix today (Tuesday) at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Tiff starts at 7 pm with the Cargo Movers looking to stretch its five-game winning run to remain on top of this prestigious club tourney sponsored by Mikasa, Grand Sport, Senoh, Mueller, Island Rose, Cloudfone and UCPB Gen.
Meanwhile, Generika-Ayala seeks to improve its standing when it collides with lowly Victoria Sports-UST in the 4:15 pm curtain-raiser of this explosive double-header that also has Gold’s Gym and Gerflor as technical sponsors and ESPN5 as broadcast partner.
After racing to a 5-0 start, the Cargo Movers are definitely the league’s hottest team.
They kicked off their campaign with an earth-shaking victory over giant Petron in four sets before crushing Sta. Lucia, Cocolife, Generika-Ayala and Victoria Sports-UST in straight sets, sparking speculations that the Cargo Movers are capable of sweeping the elimination round.
But still, head coach Ramil de Jesus opts to remain grounded.
“It’s still a long way to go,” said the 10-time champion coach in the UAAP, adding that their upcoming battles against Cignal and reigning champion Foton will be a major test to their character.
“While sweeping the eliminations is our main goal, we know that we still have a lot of things to work on and improve. This is a tough league. You really have to work hard if you want to win.”
De Jesus stressed that Cignal won’t be an easy opponent.
Bannered by a pair of strong middle blockers in Beth Carey of Australia and Alexis Matthews of United States with Japanese libero Mami Miyashita at the backline, the HD Spikers have the height, talent and power to contend.
Unfortunately, they suffered a pair of setbacks to Petron and Cocolife before recovering with a straight-set conquest of Iriga City last week to tally a 2-3 win-loss card as the tourney enters the crucial stretch of the eliminations.
In that game against the Lady Oragons, star spiker Rachel Anne Daquis sat out, but Jovelyn Gonzaga, Paneng Mercado and Royse Tubino stepped up to help Carey and Matthews in asserting their dominance.
“Hopefully, we can sustain our winning character,” said Cignal coach George Pascua, adding that Daquis will be back in harness after a couple of games rest.
“I always tell the team that we are a champion team. We’re being expected to play like one. So we have to work hard every game and live above those expectations.”
Pascua noted that for them to pull the rug from under the Cargo Movers, they have to stop the effective middle game of Aby Marano and Majoy Baron as well as the attacking prowess of imports Kennedy Bryan and Maria Jose Perez, who was named as the PSL Press Corps’ Chooks to Go Player of the Week over the weekend.
“We need to take away their middle game and attacks through effective blocking and floor defense. F2 (Logistics) is a very good team. You have to be at your best defensively for you to win.”
F2 Logistics 5-0
Sta. Lucia Realty 1-4
Iriga City 1-4
Victoria Sports-UST 0-4
(Filoil Flying V Centre)
4:15 pm – Generika-Ayala vs Victoria Sports-UST
7:00 pm – Cignal vs F2 Logistics