Reigning champion Foton guns for solo lead when it tangles with lowly Victoria Sports-UST in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix today at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Clash starts at 7 pm following the tiff between Sta. Lucia Realty and Cocolife in the 4:15 pm curtain-raiser of this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Grand Sport, Senoh, Mueller, Island Rose, Cloudfone and UCPB Gen.
The Tornadoes are arguably the hottest team in this league that also has Gerflor and Gold’s Gym as technical sponsors and ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
After bowing to bitter rival Petron last Nov. 14, the Foton bounced back with a pair of impressive wins that fueled speculations that it is still capable of making another strong run to the title.
Their latest victory – a five-set conquest of erstwhile-unbeaten F2 Logistics at the Batangas City Sports Centre over the weekend – gave them their sixth win, putting them in a three-way tie with the Cargo Movers and the Blaze Spikers entering their final match in the single-round eliminations.
In that match, import Sara Klisura of Serbia had a historic night as she sparkled with 41 points that shattered the existing scoring record and towed the Tornadoes past the Cargo Movers.
Foton coach Moro Branislav lauded his ward, but emphasized that the job is not yet done.
“She is definitely one of the best players in this tournament,” said Branislav referring to Klisura, who broke the 40-point performance that American guest player Kristy Jaeckel tallied two years ago.
“But we should not be satisfied with this win. It’s still a long way to go and we have a lot of things to work on. We need to have a strong finish first by taking care of UST then let’s see what will happen in the quarterfinals.”
In the quarterfinals, the top seed will take on the eighth seed while the second seed will clash with the seventh seed; the third seed will face the sixth seed; and the fourth seed will collide with the fifth seed.
Branislav said while their goal is to emerge as top seed, it will all depend on the outcome of the battles between Petron and Cocolife and F2 Logistics and Iriga City in the next few days.
“Yes, we like to finish on top (of the eliminations), but we can’t say it now because the ranking is quite complicated,” said Branislav. “For the meantime, we just have to take care of UST then let’s see what will happen in the next few days.”
Klisura is again tipped to carry the Tornadoes on her back together with fellow imports Dragana Perunicnic of Montenegro and Katarina Vukamanovic of Serbia.
Of course, local stars Ivy Perez, Jaja Santiago and Maika Ortiz will be back to avoid an upset being plotted by the Tigresses led by Dimdim Pacres, Carlo Sandoval, Tin Francisco and Japanese reinforcement Yukie Inamasu.
Victoria Sports-UST has yet to win in six starts.
F2 Logistics 6-1
Iriga City 2-5
Sta. Lucia Realty 1-5
Victoria Sports-UST 0-6
(Filoil Flying V Centre)
4:15 pm – Sta. Lucia Realty vs Cocolife
7:00 pm – UST vs Foton