Generika-Ayala and Foton gun for the last remaining final round slot when they battle separate foes in the last day of preliminaries of the Belo Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference today (Thursday) at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Lifesavers face heavyweight Petron at 5 pm while the Tornadoes will have a lighter assignment in winless Sta. Lucia in the 7 pm main game of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Asics, Mueller and Senoh with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
With Petron and idle Cignal safely in the final round, pressure is now on Generika-Ayala and Foton as they are desperate for a victory that would send them to the next round of this tourney that also has UCPB Gen as official insurance provider and Gold’s Gym as official fitness partner.
The winner will make it to the final round, but if ever both the Lifesavers and the Tornadoes emerge with similar fates, their ranking will be determined based on their accumulated points and won sets.
The top three teams will join a guest team from Japan in a single-round format and whoever will be the last squad standing will be declared as champion. On the other hand, the bottom three will vie in the classification phase to determine their final rankings.
Final round starts next week (March 30).
The Lifesavers expect to have a more difficult time making it to the next round as they are stacked against the Blaze Spikers, who remain unbeaten in four outings.
In fact, in their previous match against the Tornadoes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and the rest of the rampaging Blaze Spikers displayed their deadly form to complete an easy 25-12, 25-10, 25-23 victory.
Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos, however, downplayed their impressive performance, saying they remain a work in progress as Reyes, Carmela Tunay and Rhea Dimaculangan are still trying their best to fit into their system.
“Like other teams, we’re also still adjusting,” said Delos Santos, adding that it’s quite too early to discuss the possibility of duplicating their sweet sweep of the All-Filipino Conference two years ago.
“It’s still a long way to go. We’re not thinking about the sweep or anything. I just want the team to stay focused and play each game as if it is our last.”
Generika-Ayala coach Francis Vicente knows that prevailing over Petron at this point would be a tough task, but he vowed to do his best to prepare and instill the winning mentality into his wards.
He added that their morale is high following a straight-set demolition of the Lady Realtors over the weekend at Muntinlupa Sports Complex, 25-21, 25-13, 25-16.
“We know it takes a lot to win over Petron at this point, but we will work hard and be prepared,” said Vicente, who will also call the shots for the national women’s team in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
“All we need is to improve our defense, reduce our turnovers and play more as one solid team.”
Team captain Gen Casugod is tipped to be at her best in manning the middle as well as Angeli Araneta, Patty Jane Orendain, Carol Cerveza, Mikaela Lopez and defense specialist Bia General.