Powerhouse Foton and Petron shoot for the remaining semifinals slots when the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference fires off at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center in Malolos City.
After emerging on top of the preliminaries, the Tornadoes tackle winless Cherrylume at 7 pm while the Blaze Spikers clash with Sta. Lucia at 5 pm in the sudden-death quarterfinals of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Belo, Rebisco and Gold’s Gym with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
F2 Logistics and Cignal were the first to enter the semifinals after downing their respective foes late Thursday.
The Cargo Movers clobbered Generika-Ayala, 25-14, 25-18, 25-17, while the HD Spikers dominated Cocolife, 25-17, 25-10, 25-20, in the second match of the explosive quarterfinal double-header that also has Senoh, Mueller, Mikasa, Asics and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
Despite losing the crucial pieces in its championship cast, Foton remains a force to be reckoned with after winning five of its six games in the preliminaries to formally claim the top spot in the quarterfinals.
Its lone loss came from the hands of Petron last week, 20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 19-25, 11-15, in a thrilling match that gave the massive crowd a glimpse of what to expect when these two titans clash in the semifinals on July 6 at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.
But before thinking of moving into the next round, the Tornadoes have to overcome Cherrylume, a rising squad composed of college girls from University of the East.
Led by captain Mary Anne Mendez as well as Jana Sta. Maria, Judith Abil and Seth Rodriguez, the Iron Lady Warriors shut down their six-game campaign in the preliminaries without a singe victory.
But it doesn’t matter as the Iron Lady Warriors will be marching into the battle without any pressure, making them very dangerous and capable of pulling off a massive upset.
“In my opinion, Cherrylume will be playing with nothing to lose,” Foton coach Moro Branislav said. “This team is composed of young players from the university. They are very aggressive. They will surely play with a lot of heart and a lot of pride in a very important game like this.”
Branislav said prized opposite Jaja Santiago would be ready to provide the scoring punches together with EJ Laure and Maika Ortiz while CJ Rosario, Nica Guliman Roselyn Doria, Shang Berte and Jen Reyes take care of the defensive chores.
“This is the real battle. We will be ready because one miss and we’re out. Everything will be worthless if we can’t pull a victory in this very important match.”
On the same note, Petron vows to go all out against an equally dangerous Sta. Lucia squad.
With national team stalwarts Mika Reyes, Rhea Dimaculangan, Frances Molina and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas leading he charge, the Blaze Spikers finished the preliminaries tied with Cignal at 4-2.
They, however, had to settle for the third spot due to an inferior quotient after yielding two matches to the HD Spikers.
“It’s going to be very tough. Sta. Lucia is a very good and hungry team so we also have to be ready,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos, noting that Filipino-American MJ Phillips, Janine Navarro and Danika Gendrauli are tipped to do the damage for the Lady Realtors.