MANILA, Philippines – Foton will look to tighten its hold on the No. 1 spot as it clashes with an undermanned Iriga City team when the Chooks-to-Go Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix returns to the FilOil Flying V Centre on Tuesday.
Action starts at 2 pm with the Tornadoes looking to punch their fourth consecutive victory in the tournament. Meanwhile, guest team University of Santo Tomas makes its debut at 4 p.m. against Cocolife, while F2 Logistics takes on Sta. Lucia Realty at 6 p.m.
Bannered by prized Serbian spiker in Sara Klisura and Montenegrin Dragana Perunicnic with another Serbian Katarina Vukamanovic at the backline, the Tornadoes appear unstoppable after racing to three straight victories.
Their previous conquest – a straight set domination of Generika-Ayala in the Spike on Tour in Bacolod City over the weekend – cemented their spot on top, while rival Petron absorbed its first loss after falling to F2 Logistics in four sets.
But taking it easy appears to be the last thing on the mind of Foton coach Moro Branislav of Serbia.
"This is a very tough tournament. All imports are impressive and your local players have improved," said Branislav. "We have to take advantage of this momentum by claiming as many wins as possible."
"The tournament will be tougher in the latter period, so we must play our best this early," he stressed.
Foton's road to a fourth straight win got marginally easier as Iriga City will be without its best local player in Gretchel Soltones.
The league has banned Soltones for a year and slapped her with a P50,000 fine after violating its One League Policy.
Iriga City head coach Parley Tupaz admitted that Soltones would be a major loss, but life must go on for the team as their imports, Tamara Kmezic of Serbia and Saama Miyagawa of Japan, are ready to work double time to fill the huge void created by her absence.
"Although her absence will be a huge loss, we have to abide whatever their decision is and move on," said Tupaz, who led the Lady Oragons to a come-from-behind win over Sta. Lucia in their PSL debut.
Meanwhile, the young Golden Tigresses will face off against their collegiate mentor, Kungfu Reyes, when they make their PSL debut.
UST will parade Japanese import Yukie Inamasu to join the young and developing core of Dimdim Pacres, Christine Francisco, Caitlyn Viray, Carla Sandoval and guest player Christine Agno.
"We may be young, but we will fight until the end," said head coach John Paul Doloiras. "This is going to be a very good exposure for us going into the UAAP. We’re looking forward to learn a lot of things in this tournament."
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