MANILA, Philippines - Petron clashes with Cagayan Valley today, looking for a win and a share of the lead with AirAsia even as Philippine Army-Generika Drugstore kicks off its campaign PLDT Home DSL-Philippine Super Lige All Filipino Conference against PLDT Home at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The Petron spikers are favored to get past the struggling Rising Suns in their 4 p.m. encounter and tie the idle AirAsia side at 2-0 in the early going of the tournament.
But focus will be on the Army-PLDT duel at 2 p.m. with the fancied Lady Troopers boasting of a crack roster headed by Mary Jean Balse, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis.
Also making its debut in the men’s side of the event organized by Sports Core with Solar Sports as official broadcast partner and backed by PLDT Home DSL and backed by Mikasa, Asics, Mueller Tapes, Jinling Sports Equipment, LGR, Bench and Healthway Medical is PLDT Home TVolution, which will clash with Systema at 6 p.m.
Featuring national team standouts Ian Fernandez and Alnakran Abdilla along with veterans Dante Alinsunurin and Robert Boto, the Power Attackers are tipped to create an immediate impact against actor-sportsman Richard Gomez and his Active Smashers, who yielded a straight-set loss to Cignal in the opener.
“Almost all of the teams have beefed up their rosters, so it’s really hard to predict our chances,” said Army coach Rico de Guzman. “I trust my team. We’ve been training hard for this competition for the past two months. I know the girls will do everything to defend our crown.”
It wouldn’t be a walk in the park for the Lady Troopers and they expect a good fight from the Power Attackers, who will parade the nucleus of the squad which finished third in the previous conference.
After dropping a sorry five-set loss to AirAsia, the Power Attackers bounced back with a 25-22, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23 win over the Rising Suns.
In that game, PLDT Home TVolution had a flawless performance in the first two sets before suffering some minor bumps in the third set and in the early goings of the fourth set before escaping with a nail-biting victory.
“We are a very tired team,” said Power Attackers coach Roger Gorayeb. “All of my players have full-time jobs, so it’s really difficult for us to practice everyday. But in our next game, we will prepare hard because we know that Army is such a strong team. Hopefully, we can perform above their level.”
Tasked to carry the charge for Gorayeb are Charo Soriano, Rysabelle Devanadera, Maruja Banaticla and Sue Roces, who fired a team-high 17 points in their previous win over Cagayan.