Super Liga on at Cuneta Astrodome

By Joey Villar, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 16 2014 12:40 PM | Updated as of May 16 2014 08:40 PM

1 p.m. – Opening Ceremony

2 p.m. – Cignal vs Systema (men’s)

4 p.m. – Air Asia vs Cagayan (women’s)

MANILA, Philippines - The PLDT Home DSL Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference unfolds today with newcomer Air Asia clashing with Cagayan Valley in women’s play and Cignal battling Systema in the men’s side at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

Air Asia will parade a team of former La Salle standouts headed by Abby Marano, the second overall pick in the league’s first ever rookie draft early in the year, Stephanie Mercado, Maureen Penetrante Ouano and Jeushl Wensh Tiu among others under coach Ramil de Jesus.

The Mikee Romero-owned franchise will debut against the Rising Suns, a team mentored by Ernesto Pamilar and headed by Adamson’s Sheila Marie Pineda and Pau Soriano, University of Santo Tomas’ Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas.

Both coaches like their chances.

“We’re starting to gel better and I’m confident of our chances,” said Air Asia coach Ramil de Jesus.

“I think it’s going to be a wide open race but I have faith in my team’s competitiveness against all the teams,” said Pamilar.

“With a solid roster, we hope to come up with a strong performance right in our first foray in the league,” said Air Asia representative Erick Arejola. “But it won’t be easy with a slew of strong teams in the fold although we expect the girls to give it their best shot in each game.”

Popular actor-sportsman Richard Gomez will also debut for the Oliver Almandro-coached Systema Active Smashers weeks after he suited up for the Phl team that finished seventh in the Asian Men’s Club Championship at the MOA Arena in Pasay.

The Cignal HD Spikers, in contrast, will field in a squad coached by Michael Carino and composed mostly of former Perpetual Help players headed by Adam Daquer, Jay dela Cruz and Edmar Sanchez.

Philip Ella Juico, who chairs the organizing group, said there are plans to hold games in Cebu, where the sport enjoys a big following.

“We have a growing following in the provinces and we hope to bring some Super Liga games in Cebu,” said Juico, who was joined by Solar Sports marketing director Martin David in yesterday’s press conference.

The league is organized by Sports Core headed by Ramon Suzara and will be aired live on cable channel at Solar Sports on Sky Cable (Ch. 70), Destiny Cable (Ch. 35), Cignal (Ch. 55) and Cablelink (Ch. 58.).