IMUS CITY—Stopping surging Foton and its vaunted offensive assault will be the main objective of F2 Logistics when they clash in the Asics Philippine Superliga Grand Prix presented by PLDT Home Ultera today at the Imus City Sports Coliseum here.
The Tornadoes are slightly favored in their 5 p.m. encounter, but don’t count the Cargo Movers out as they have already rediscovered their winning form in the preliminaries of this prestigious inter-club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Mueller, Grand Sport and Senoh with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
On the same note, Petron tries to tighten its hold on the second spot as it faces Generika at 7 p.m., while RC Cola-Army battles Cignal in the 3 p.m. appetizer of this battle, which also has Focus Athletics, KLab Cyscorpions, Foton, Petron and F2 Logistics as sponsors.
Reigning champion Foton remains on top of the leaderboard with a clean 6-0 slate, while Petron is not far behind at 6-1, putting them in a perfect position to capture the two outright semifinal slots of this battle, where the champion would get a chance to represent the country in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship in Kazakhstan.
But The Tornadoes’ resolve will be tested against the Cargo Movers, who are composed of the same core that dominated them in the finals of the recent All-Filipino Conference.
After seeing their three-game winning run snapped by Petron, F2 Logistics wasted no time in picking up the pieces as it clobbered Cignal, 25-16, 25-16, 22-25, 25-16, over the weekend at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center in Malolos City.
Import Hayley Spelman was impressive, delivering 21 kills and two blocks for a 23-hit production, while Cha Cruz and the rest of the locals stepped up big time in the crucial stretch of the deciding set making sure that they will get back on the winning track.
“I wanted the locals to stepped up and they delivered,” said F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus, adding that his team remains a work in progress midway into the tournament.
“We still have a lot to work on. I think we have to do another big adjustment in our rotation. There are times that we can’t finish off a long rally. That’s something we need to improve.”
The Tornadoes, however, will be a tough nut to crack.
Although they will be losing Jaja Santiago for the second time, it doesn’t really matter as Serbian coach Moro Branislav declared that he had done enough adjustment in anticipation for the three-game absence of his prized middle blocker, who is with National University in a 12-day training camp in Japan.
In their 25-16, 27-25, 25-20 win over Generika, the adjustment was evident as imports Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher dominated the match from start to finish while Dindin Manabat and Maika Ortiz claimed the lion’s share of defensive chore.
Stalzer had 21 points while Usher finished with 20 hits for the Tornadoes, who crushed the Cargo Movers in straight sets in their first match last Oct. 8 without Spelman and the injured Ara Galang.
“We are also working on a lot of things,” said Branislav, who admitted that they are looking to become the second team to sweep the entire tournament, similar to what Petron did in the All-Filipino Conference last year. “F2 Logistics is a high-level team. We have to be at our best if we want to win over them.”
(Imus City Sports Complex)
3 p.m. – RC Cola-Army
5 p.m. – Foton vs F2 Logistics
7 p.m. – Generika vs Petron