Petron continues its redemption tour when it clashes with dangerous Generika-Ayala in the Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference tomorrow at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Action starts at 6 p.m. with the Blaze Spikers expected to go all out following a morale-boosting win over F2 Logistics in their previous game over the weekend at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.
Prior to that, the Cargo Movers seek to bounce back when they clash with Marinerang Pilipina at 4 p.m. while Foton hunts its first win when it faces PLDT in the 2 p.m. appetizer of this explosive triple-header of the country’s premier women’s volleyball league.
After bombing out in the semifinals in the All-Filipino Conference last month, the Blaze Spikers opened the Invitationals with fire in their eyes.
Sure, star middle blocker Mika Reyes and setter Rhea Dimaculangan were not there due to injuries, but Petron managed to draw strength and firepower from Sisi Rondina and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas to pull off a 25-22, 25-23, 25-18 victory over bitter rival F2 Logistics.
Rondina fired 17 points while Maizo-Pontillas delivered 14 markers for the Blaze Spikers, who are looking to book a return flight to the finals of this tourney that was cut short to give way for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games this November.
Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos said they want to win as early as possible.
“What we have is a very short tourney so every game counts,” said Delos Santos, who will also call the shots for the national women’s volleyball team in the prestigious biennial meet.
“But we can’t judge ourselves based on our first game. We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. Yes, this is a short tournament and we want to win as early as possible. But we can’t afford to look to far. We just have to take who’s in front of us.”
But plucking their second straight win is easier said than done.
The Blaze Spikers are facing the Lifesavers, who are loaded with power on both ends of the floor.
Open spikers Patty Orendain, Fiola Ceballos and Mean Mendrez are playing like a three-headed scoring machine while national team member Kath Arado and Bia General take care of the defensive chore.
And despite the absence of injured skipper Angeli Araneta, the Lifesavers were still deadly as they clobbered Marinerang Pilipina in their first game of the conference, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17.
In that game, Ceballos and Mendrez delivered 12 points apiece while Orendain chipped in 10 markers for the Lifesavers, who just needed one hour and 25 minutes to wrap up.
Still, Generika-Ayala coach Sherwin Meneses knows that other teams would not give them an easy time.
“We know what kind of team Petron is; it is a champion team with a very good system,” said Meneses, whose wards had an impressive performance in the double-round eliminations of the All-Filipino Conference before fading down the stretch.
“We always have to be at our best against them. We have to prepare and work hard to give them a run for their money.”