PSL: A little of the old, a dash of the new
The PSL Invitational tournament has seen the dispersal of volleyball talent into four familiar teams and two newcomers. This has given fans a more interesting peek into combinations they may have never seen when the players were still in the college ranks.
New kid on the block Cocolife has yet to win a game in three starts but has a combination of UAAP and NCAA stars trying to mesh their talents.
Former La Salle star Michele Gumabao is the main point of attack and reliable former Ateneo libero Denden Lazaro manages the backline defense. And there are a couple of names that are just beginning to shine, like setters Rhea Ramirez and Kaye Daly, gunners Rosemarie Vargas, Erika Alkuinio, Andrea Marzan and Jovelyn Prado.
Sta. Lucia has returned to high-profile sports with a team in the PSL. Setter Djanel Cheng is the glue that keeps this team together and gets production from the likes of Janine Navarro and Cindy Imbo.
Short as it is, the single-round competition may not be enough to blend the talents of these players into one cohesive unit.
There’s nothing like actual games to hone their skills. But these teams are off and running and could emerge as two of the more competitive teams this year.
Cignal HD has gotten the bright lights of the former RC Cola-Army squad like Jovelyn Gonzaga, Rachel Anne Daquis and Honey Royce Tubino. Veteran Chi Saet provides stability as setter. Many of the players are veterans but also need some time to become more familiar with teammate moves and tendencies.
Generika-Ayala Lifesavers has started well with a 1-1 card, bringing out the best in setter Mary Grace Masangkay, Patty Orendain, and libero Bia General.
The most outstanding development is the team’s acquisition of Gen Casugod, a once long-term project of the FEU Lady Tamaraws because of her six-foot frame. Casugod is now mixing it up with the best of them in the middle where she is most effective.
Petron and Foton remain as the frontrunners. Despite losing many of its key players, the Tornadoes have gotten an infusion of new blood with the hard-hitting Grethcel Soltones. Dindin Manabat will continue to be hard to stop and setters Rubie de Leon and Ivy Perez will make sure Manabat and Soltones will have enough bullets to fire.
Petron is undefeated in three starts. Mika Reyes’ solid middle play has fortified the defensive wall of the Blaze Spikers while getting the points from blocks as well. Reyes has veterans Carmela Tunay, Bang Pineda, setter Rhea Dinaculangan and libero Jen Reyes to rely on.
This should be a truly competitive conference, what with a Japanese college team waiting in the wings in the semifinals. Having a little of the old and a dash of the new always seems to work.
(TARA NA SA COM DEPT! Ateneo Department of Communication alumni are invited to the 50th anniversary homecoming on March 25, 7 p.m., at the Leong Hall Roof Deck. For ticket reservations visit http://bit.do/ComDeptAH2017ticket.)