Cocolife, Cignal seek second straight wins
(STRIKE Gym, Bacoor)
4:30 p.m. — Cignal vs Smart-Army
8:00 p.m. — Sta. Lucia vs Cocolife
BACOOR CITY — Cocolife and Cignal gun for a share of early lead when they battle separate foes in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference today at the STRIKE Gym here.
The Asset Managers will shoot for their second straight win against Sta. Lucia Realty in the 8 pm main encounter of this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, UCPB Gen and SOGO Hotel with ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.
Prior to that, Cignal and Smart-Army clash for Pool B lead in the 4:30 pm appetizer of this mid-season conference that also has Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
The HD Spikers recovered from a first-set lost before crushing UE-Cherrylume, 19-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-22, late Tuesday to open their title-retention bid on a high note.
Mylene Paat and Rachel Anne Daquis, who led Cignal with 20 and 14 points, respectively, are expected to carry the cudgels anew against a seasoned Smart-Army squad that is still fresh its first franchise win after beating depleted Sta. Lucia in straight sets, 25-14, 25-16, 25-23, last Monday.
Also aiming for the lead are the Asset Managers, who seek to apply the things they learned from their 22-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-18 victory over UE-Cherrylume.
Cocolife Head Coach Moro Branislav said their first game was an acid test since he is handling a young and retooled roster bannered by 20-year old Gyra Barroga as well as Denice Tan and Justine Tiu.
“I understand that this is a new life for Cocolife. Completely different situation and different sets of players,” Branislav said.
“My new players are good but we relaxed a bit against UE and we cannot do that now since we are facing a stronger team.”
Sta. Lucia, meanwhile, continues to miss the troika of Jho Maraguinot, Toni Rose Basas and libero Rica Rivera as it tries to bounce back from a tough setback to Smart-Army.
Maraguinot is in danger of missing the entire conference due to muscle strain.
Basas is also unsure as her timetable as her an infected ear operation will be re-evaluated this coming Saturday while Rica Rivera is expected to return in the All-Filipino Cup already due to the knee injury she sustained while playing for University of Santo Tomas last UAAP Season 80.
Despite losing three key players, Sta. Lucia head coach George Pascua remains confident of his Lady Realtors led by mainstays MJ Phillips, Pam Lastimosa and setter Rebecca Rivera.
“We are still confident. My remaining players are very capable to take bigger responsibilities. We just have to lessen our errors in the coming games,” Pascua said