Two new teams will add color to the 2016 Philippine Super Liga (PSL) Invitational Cup beginning on February 18 at The Arena in San Juan City.
F2 Logistics and New San Jose Builders, Inc. are going to be the newest addition while Philippine Army is making a comeback after winning the first three editions of the tournament.
Carrying RC Cola, Philippine Army returns with strong core of players including Rachelle Anne Daquis, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Royse Tubino, Tina Salak, Ging Balse, and Nene Bautista. They will be under the tutelage of Emilio Reyes.
The F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, however, will be pumped up by former De La Salle University stars Cha Cruz and Stephanie Mercado, and veteran middle hitter Lilet Mabbayad.
“Usually, sa training hindi pa rin kami nakakapag-gel. More on drills pa kami, getting to know each other although kilala na naman namin ang isa’t-isa pero iba pa rin ‘yung bonding. And I think, so far so good. Nagiging close kami sa isa’t-isa,” said Cruz in an interview.
“For me, bagong pakikisama rin kasi bago rin ang ‘yung sistema ng coach. Exciting naman to be with coach Mayie,” she added.
Former national team member Rosemarie Molit-Prochina will coach the Cargo Movers.
The other members of the team are Pau Soriano, Danila Gendrauli and Chie Saet for Cargo Movers.
Perpetual Help players Coleen Bravo and Lourdes Clemente, meanwhile, will lead New San Jose Builders Inc..
The 2015 PSL Grand Prix Champion Toplanders have lost middle blocker Jaja Santiago and setter Ivy Perez because of their stint in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament.
But the Foton Toplanders acquired the services of Rhea Dimaculangan, Angeli Tabaquero, Maika Ortiz and Ivy Remulla, who will serve as team captain.
Petron has Aiza Maizo, Shiela Pineda, Jen Reyes, Bang Pineda, Christine Joy Rosario, Angelica Legacion and team captain Maica Morada while Cignal HD is composed of Jeanette Panaga, Marlyn Llagoso, Arianna May Angustia, Jheck Dionela, Djanel Cheng, Jannine Navarro and team captain Michelle Laborte.
A top tier Thailand team will come-and-play in the semifinals according to PSL president Ramon Suzara.
“We’re looking forward to an action-packed conference with a lot of heart-stopping plays, defensive gems and strong finishes,” said Suzara.
The Meralco Power Spikers and Philips Gold Lady Slammers opted not to participate in the Invitational Cup to focus and prepare for the 2016 PSL All-Filipino Conference.
UAAP most valuable player Aby Maraño will no longer play after her contract with Petron expired.
RC Cola-Army and Foton will meet in the opening day at 4 p.m. while F2 Logistics and New San Jose Builders will collide at 6 p.m.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID