It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

Petron, F2 begin campaign vs tough opponents


Games Today

(Filoil Flying V Centre)

2 p.m. – Smart vs Sta. Lucia

4:15 p.m. – Petron vs Cocolife

7:00 p.m. – F2 Logistics vs Cignal

F2 Logistics kicks off its long journey back to the throne in an explosive triple-header for the opening salvo of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference today at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

The Cargo Movers are dead serious in asserting their dominance as they open their bid against a solid Cignal side in the 7 p.m. featured battle of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, Sogo, Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller, UCPB Gen and Bizooku.

Reigning champion Petron, meanwhile, clashes with Cocolife at 4:15 p.m. following the 2 p.m. encounter between Smart and Sta. Lucia in this league that was named as one of the 10 finalists for the Best Women’s Sports Event category of the prestigious SPIA Asia Awards.

The league will formally open at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City on Saturday starting with a pair of clashes in the Collegiate Grand Slam, the league’s newest endeavor that features six of the best college teams in the country.

But in the All-Filipino of this twin tourneys that also has ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners, all eyes will surely be on F2 Logistics.

Since joining the league in 2016, this conference has been the Cargo Movers’ turf, thanks to their intact core of Aby Marano, Cha Cruz, Majoy Baron, Ara Galang, Dawn Macandili, Kianna Dy, Kim Fajardo and other former and current De La Salle University players.

But they lost the crown to the Blaze Spikers last year, prompting them to storm back and clinch the Grand Prix title a few months later with Venezuelan MJ Perez and American Kennedy Bryan as reinforcements.

This year, F2 Logistics is all set to regain the trophy.

“We are ready to do everything to win the crown,” said assistant coach Noel Orcollo, noting that Petron isn’t the only team to beat as other squads have also beefed up their respective rosters.

“This conference is probably the most difficult conference to win. This is not an easy conference as all teams prepared well. Every team is a team-to-beat. But our owners didn’t spend a huge amount for us to slack off. We will give other teams a very good fight.”

Also seeing action for the Cargo Movers are Mae Luna, Tin Tiamzon, Fritz Gallenero, CJ Saga, Aduke Ogunsanya, Michelle Cobb and Desiree Cheng.

Cruz, the seasoned spiker who is in her best form after being part of the national squad that campaigned in the Asian Games and Asian Women’s Cup the past couple of months, said they had a serious buildup in preparation for this tourney.

“We know that this is a major tournament so we really trained hard to prepare,” said the open hitter, who is tipped to spark the offense together with the healthy Galang and Dy.

“We’ve been together for few years already since our college days, but we still worked on our chemistry, knowing that this would be our biggest advantage against other teams.”

F2 Logistics, however, won’t have an easy time plucking its first win.

The HD Spikers are marching with a loaded roster after acquiring hard-hitting spiker Royse Tubino, Luth Malaluan and Roselyn Doria to join an already powerhouse squad led by national team member Mylene Paat and skipper Rachel Anne Daquis.

Also in the fold are Janine Navarro, Rialen Sante, Jheck Dionela, Acy Masangkay, Cherry Vivas, Cindy Amutan, Mae Macatuno, Rap Aguilar and Shirley Salamagos.

“We like our chances. All our needs were addressed both on offense and on defense,” said head coach Edgar Barroga.