Rivals Petron, Foton face off; Cocolife tries to stretch upset run vs F2 | Inquirer Sports

Rivals Petron, Foton face off; Cocolife tries to stretch upset run vs F2

/ 05:00 AM December 09, 2017

Under the glare of a roster-raiding controversy and in the shadow of a major tournament upset, Petron and Foton take their budding rivalry to the next stage as they slug it out in the knockout semifinals of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.

Foton coach Moro Branislav said Petron brings out the best in his team, having dealt its only loss in the eliminations (25-21, 25-22, 12-25, 25-20).

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“Foton likes playing contra Petron,” said the Serbian mentor. “It’s going to be an interesting match.”

The feeling, it turns out, is mutual.

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Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos echoed Branislav’s sentiments, citing the “little rivalry” between the squads—a rivalry heightened because of the issue of roster pirating.

But that has been quelled for now as San Miguel sports chief Alfrancis Chua denied reports that Petron is looking to dip its fingers into other teams’ rosters, telling the Inquirer that the Blaze Boosters have no plans of acquiring the Tornadoes’ Sara Klisura for the next Grand Prix.

Petron had already netted American smasher Lindsay Stalzer, who helped steer Foton to the Grand Prix title last year.

“There’s no truth to it, no plans for it,” Chua told the Inquirer. “The league might get upset with me.”

Before the denial, there were reports that Petron was also reportedly eyeing F2 Logistics vital cogs Kim Fajardo and Dawn Macandili for next season.

“We just got [our] buildup completed, that’s why we won a championship right away,” said Chua, referring to the team’s All-Filipino Cup triumph this season.

Petron and Foton could have hogged the spotlight in the knockout semifinals that kick off at 4 p.m., but Cocolife managed to steal some of the thunder with a huge quarterfinal upset over heavily-favored Cignal, 25-23, 25-23, 25-20, late Thursday.

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Saturday’s winners advance to the best-of-three championship series while the losers slug it out for third place.

And the oft-overlooked Asset Managers, armed with a low-key squad and a solid coaching staff led by Kungfu Reyes, will attempt to trigger a major tectonic shift against the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, who won their first six matches here.

“Making it to the semifinals is a big achievement to our team,” said Reyes. “But we will not settle for fourth place.”

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TAGS: Cocolife, F2 Logistics, Foton Tordanoes, Petron, Philippine Superliga Grand Prix, PSL
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