By Jerome Lagunzad
(The Arena, San Juan City)
4:15 p.m. – Petron vs Cocolife
6:00 p.m. – F2 Logistics vs Foton
Leaving nothing to chance, powerhouse Petron made a bold import change ahead of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix semifinals as the Blaze Spikers replaced veteran import Hillary Hurley with seasoned international campaigner Katherine Bell.
No less than Petron coach Shaq delos Santos confirmed the big development yesterday, saying Hurley has yet to fully recover from a nagging ankle injury, forcing them to take a gamble on the 6-foot-1 Bell ahead of their best-of-three semis battle with potent Cocolife starting on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City.
A former University of Texas star, Bell is known for her versatility since she can be utilized at the open, opposite and middle blocker positions. She also saw action for the Carolina Gigantes in Puerto Rico, GS Caltex Seoul in South Korea, and Manisa BB SK in Turkey.
Her previous stint was with Turkish side Balikesir came to an end two weeks ago and Petron wasted no little time in getting the sought-after services of Bell.
“It’s good that she was available,” said Delos Santos, adding they initially tried to lure back former import Alaina Bergsma but their efforts proved futile due to schedule conflict.
“Bell is a hardworking player who can play multiple positions. She is a good communicator who loves to push and motivate her teammates. I’m hoping that she can help us reach our ultimate goal, which is to win a title.”
Bell started training with the Blaze Spikers last Wednesday and had her baptism of fire the following night against Premier Volleyball League team Pocari Sweat.
Delos Santos admitted he liked what he initially saw, saying: “So far, so good. She’s getting along pretty well with Lindsay and the locals and I expect them to play fluidly as a team in Game 1 on Tuesday. I think we just need a little polishing on our set plays and defensive patterns and we’re good to go.”