By Jerome Lagunzad
(The Arena, San Juan City)
4:00 pm – Opening Ceremonies
4:30 pm – Cocolife vs Foton
6:30 pm – Cignal vs Petron
Powerhouse Petron aims to keep its hold of the lead while three-time defending champion Foton tries to sustain its strong start as they take on separate rivals today in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Blaze Spikers, who won their first two matches in the opening week, intend to stretch their winning streak to three in their 6:30 p.m. showdown with the dangerous Cignal HD Spikers.
The Tornadoes, coming off a four-set victory over the HD Spikers last week, are gunning for their second straight win as they take on the unpredictable Cocolife Asset Managers at 4:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, United States national women’s volleyball team tactician Karch Kiraly will serve as the guest of honor in an expected colorful opening ceremony for the season-ending tournament.
Kiraly, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and member of the elite FIVB Hall of Fame, will also mingle with fans in a meet-and-greet session right after the opening ceremonies.
Once the dust settles, all eyes will be on the Blaze Spikers, who have been on an immediate tear so far behind the exploits of touted American imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley.
Stalzer and Hurley proved too hot to handle for the Lady Realtors as they accounted for 56 combined points and carried most of the cudgels for the the Blaze Spikers underscored by their decisive 70-52 edge in successful hits.
Stopping Petron’s dynamic duo is Cignal’s main defesive agenda, to say the least.
“We need to improve our blocking to contain Hurley and Stalzer,” said HD Spikers coach George Pascua, who previously called the shots for the Blaze Spikers. “We will prepare against them, that’s for sure.”
Cignal is expected to come in with enough confidence following a 25-16, 25-21, 25-27, 25-21 victory over Generika-Ayala two days ago, with imports Alexis Mathews and Beth Carey combining for 35 points.