A prolific American spiker will be making her return but will be tested by a sturdy new group of powerful spikers when the 2017 Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix fires off on Oct. 21.
Lindsay Stalzer will be making her fourth tour of duty as she suits up for Petron in a bid to knock the crown off the head of her former team, Foton, in the season-ending conference of the country’s most prestigious club league.
After steering the Tornadoes to a pair of Grand Prix titles, Stalzer will be back to connive with veteran international campaigner Hillary Hurley of the United States and libero Yuri Fukuda of Japan, who served as one of seven foreign players for PSL Manila in the FIVB Women’s Club Championship last year.
With Stalzer crossing enemy line, the Tornadoes recruited three European stars in Dragana Perunicnic of Montenegro and Sara Klisura and libero Katarina Vukamanovic of Serbia.
Perunicnic, Klisura and Vukamanovic are said to be personal choices of Serbian coach Moro Branislav, making Foton a heavy favorite to clinch its third consecutive Grand Prix title.
“This is turning out to be the biggest and most competitive PSL Grand Prix ever,” said PSL president Ramon “Tats” Suzara, adding that they allowed teams to recruit up to three imports for the first time to increase the level of excitement and competitiveness among a record of nine competing teams.
“The mere fact that almost all teams will parade three imports means that they are serious in winning the title. This is going to be very exciting.”
Not to be outdone, Cignal, Cocolife, Sta. Lucia, Generika-Ayala and F2 Logistics also did good scouting jobs in recruiting their respective reinforcements.
Overflowing with firepower at the wing spot with the presence of Honey Royse Tubino, Janine Marciano, Rachel Anne Daquis, Paneng Mercado and national team member Jovelyn Gonzaga, the HD Spikers tapped a pair of middle blockers in Beth Carey of Australia and Alexis Matthews of the US as well as libero Mami Miyashita of Japan.
The Asset Managers, meanwhile, will parade high-flying Taylor Milton and Tai Manu-Olevao while the Lady Realtors grabbed two Canadian national team members in middle blocker Marisa Field and libero Kristen Moncks as well as Bulgarian national team open spiker Slavina Koleva.
The Lifesavers also hired 6-foot-5 American open hitter Katelyn Driscoll and Croatian Katarina Pilepic, dubbed as the “Croatian Hammer” during her stint for Arizona in the Division I of the US NCAA.
The Cargo Movers, for their part, will be bannered by Kennedy Bryan of the US and Maria Jose Perez, who saw action for the Venezuelan national team in the Beijing Olympics and the FIVB Grand Prix.
So far, only expansion team Iriga and collegiate side University of Santo Tomas have yet to release the names of their respective foreign players.
They are expected to submit their final rosters any time this week.