F2 Logistics kicks off its title hunt when it collides with Cignal in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix today at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Reigning champion Petron tips things off when it clashes with PLDT at 2 p.m. while United VC tackle Sta. Lucia in the 4:15 p.m. battle of this prestigious women’s volleyball tourney that has ESPN5 and 5Plus as broadcast partners.
Then, it’s going to be the Cargo Movers’ turn as they tangle with the HD Spikers in the 7 p.m. featured encounter of this league that is backed by Asics, Mikasa, Mueller, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Hotel Sogo and Data Project.
Foton and the Sta. Lucia barged on top of the team standings after emerging victorious in the opening salvo.
Drawing strength from former Turkish national team member Selime Ilyasoglu and American Courtney Felinski, the Tornadoes dominated United VC, 26-24, 25-20, 15-25, 25-21, while the Lady Realtors snapped their 13-game losing streak when they eked out a heart-stopping 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 16-25 win over Generika-Ayala.
Joining them in the win column will be the main objective of F2 Logistics, which waged a recruiting coup in a bid to regain the crown of this import-flavored conference.
After bowing to Petron in a thrilling finale last year, F2 Logistics tapped veteran reinforcement Lindsay Stalzer and prolific Italian-American journeywoman Becky Perry to join the solid core of Aby Marano, Ara Galang, Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili, Majoy Baron and Kim Fajardo in its title quest.
Stalzer, a three-time champion and former Most Valuable Player, steered the Blaze Spikers to the title last year and her addition will provide the Cargo Movers the experience and stability on the floor.
Unfortunately for the Cargo Movers, the comely American will not join them until next week as she’s still in the thick of her campaign with Jakarta BNI Taplus, which is still competing in the finals of the Indonesian Proliga.
“Lindsay will miss our first two matches and will arrive on the 24th,” said F2 Logistics’ team manager Hollie Reyes.
“It’s okay. It’s a very long season with double round eliminations. I’m sure she can catch up as soon as she lands here next week.”
With Stalzer out, it’s going to be an uphill climb for F2 Logistics as it is stacked against an explosive Cignal squad that is powered by former United States junior national team member Erica Wilson and Azerbaijani Anastasia Artemeva together with veterans Rachel Anne Daquis, Mylene Paat, Janine Navarro and Acy Masangkay.
“Erica has been on our radar since last year. I’m glad that we finally had the chance to tap her,” said Cignal coach Edgar Barroga, referring to Wilson, who was part of the powerhouse US Team that saw action in the FIVB U23 World Championship in 2013.
“She’s a gifted scorer who can help Rachel carry the scoring load. Since Jovelyn (Gonzaga) is still out, we want an import who can help in the scoring department – and Erica perfectly fits the bill.”
Also set to draw attention is the battle between Petron and PLDT.
Petron will be parading two of the best imports the leagues ever saw in Katherine Bell and Stephanie Niemer together with new recruit Denden Lazaro while PLDT will be bannered by Americans Grace Lazard and Kendra Dahlke together with Jasmine Nabor, Aiko Urdas and the returning Louann Latigay.
“We may have a strong team, but this Grand Prix is a wide open race,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos.