PSL: Who will stop Petron?
The Petron Blaze Spikers are playing at such a high level in the current Chooks to Go-Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino conference that other teams have to kick up their games several notches.
As the semifinals begin this week, the undefeated Blaze Spikers will face the Cignal HD Spikers in one half of this playoff round, enjoying a twice to beat edge. In the quarterfinals, the Blaze Spikers made short work of Sta. Lucia Realty in three sets while the HD Spikers had to bring out all the guns against the Foton Tornadoes to win in four.
In the other half of the quarters, F2 Logistics shut out Cocolife in three sets. F2 will meet Generika Ayala for the other ticket to the finals. The Life Savers are jelling at the right time and getting sound performances from its veterans. They will need a superlative performance though against the Cargo Movers who have a twice to beat advantage, championship experience and years of playing together.
Cignal HD will need everything its veterans can give to make the battle against Petron a series. Rachel Anne Dacquis continues to be prolific and is getting more than ample support from the resurgent Mylene Paat. Honey Royse Tubino, Mumay Vivas and Raprap Aguilar have also provided scoring off the bench. Setter Mary Grace Masangkay has not gotten much credit for her distribution skills for Cignal but she has flair and confidence so vital for her role.
Paat’s national team stint has augured well for her career. She has more confidence of late and has displayed a fiery disposition which was not noticed in her early playing years. Playing and training everyday with good players in the national team has brought out and honed her once unnoticed talents.
Dacquis and Paat will need all the help to derail Petron. The Blaze Spikers do not simply have the weapons for battle but have developed a reliable chemistry that keeps them together during tight fixes. Setter Rhea Dimaculangan has lethal guns at her disposal in middle Mikka Reyes, Bernadette Pons, Ces Molina, Sisi Rondina and Remy Palma.
It won’t be that easy to derail Petron’s march to the finals and volleyball is a sport of limited chances with only three passes to make a point. Cignal and the other challengers will have to make the most of the opportunities presented to them.