EXPANSION teams Cherrylume and Cocolife get their baptism of fire when they battle established clubs Foton and Generika-Ayala, respectively, on opening day of the 2017 Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The Cherrylume Iron Lady Warriors, composed of players from the University of the East, debut against two-time champion Foton Tornadoes at 5 p.m., while Cocolife led by Michele Gumabao and Dennise Lazaro, take on consistent fifth place finisher Generika-Ayala in the 7 p.m. main match of the interclub tournament bankrolled by Rebisco, Belo, Asics, Senoh, Mueller and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
The league’s opening ceremony is set this Saturday also at the same venue with a capacity crowd expected to show up with half of the revenues from tickets sales going to the medical needs Olympian Ian Lariba, who is diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
The Iron Lady Warriors will be bannered by Seth Rodriguez, Mary Ann Mendrez, Judith Abil, Jana Sta. Maria and playmaker Dana Disquitado
Cherrylume intends to gain experience from the tournament as it hones up for next season’s University Atheltic Association of the Philippines action. The Iron Lady Warriors will face a Tornadoes side led by Jaja Santiago, EJ Laure and Maika Ortiz as well as veterans Ivy Perez, Rubie de Leon and defense specialist Jen Reyes told the league’s press conference on Monday. “We will work on our skills, on our character and on our attitude. I think we’ll learn a lot in this conference.”
Foton’s Serbian Head Coach Moro Branislav will also lean on new recruits CJ Rosario, Kyle Negrito, Roselyn Doria, Nica Guliman and Heather Guino-o.
Cocolife, meanwhile, boasts of Gumabao and Lazaro as their new recruits who will play alongside Joanne Bunag, Carla Sandoval, Marge Tejada, Angelica Cayuna, Shannen Palec, Jeanette Villareal and Mika Esperanza.
The Asset Managers will be coached by former Army coach and current University of Santo Tomas mentor Kungfu Reyes with Tina Salak as his assistant.
“We’re a new team but we have seasoned players like Michele and Denden so hopefully we could deliver better than the fifth place finish in the Invitational conference,” Reyes said.
National team head coach Francis Vicente parades a rock-solid roster built around Gen Casugod, 6-foot-1 former Far Eastern University star who is now blossoming into one of the league’s best middle blockers.
“This is just a short tournament, a little more than one month to be exact. Every game is very important,” said Vicente, who also banks on Chloe Cortez, Patty Orendain, Angeli Araneta, Shaya Adorador and new recruit Marian Buitre with Bia General and Kath Arado patrolling the backline.
Also competing as defending champion F2 Logistics Cignal, Petron and expansion team Sta. Lucia in Bracket A. They will see action on Thursday.