Petron in for tough title-retention bid sans Lindsay Stalzer in PSL Grand Prix
MANILA, Philippines—Petron has already won two straight titles in the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference, the next thing on its bucket list is a title repeat in the Grand Prix.
Head coach Shaq Delos Santos, however, said that winning two straight titles is easier said than done.
“I always tell the team that the last one was over so this new season is essentially another fight,” said Delos Santos in Filipino during the PSL’s opening ceremonies for the 2019 season Sunday at Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall.
“And actually we really don’t talk about taking another title, what we do discuss, however, is that we would push each other to the absolute limit. We can’t be complacent because every team here is preparing and has also improved.”
The Blaze Spikers aslo have a compounding predicament ahead of the Grand Prix after the talismanic Lindsay Stalzer left for F2 Logistics.
Stalzer is a two-time Grand Prix MVP, one of which she won with Petron, and she would leave an undoubted huge hole in Petron’s schemes.
“Well of course we’re happy that she’s back in the PSL and we know how hard she plays so we’ll be getting ready for her because she’s really a tough fighter,” said Delos Santos. “She’s always giving her 100 percent so we’d be extra ready when we face F2.”
Petron, however, has a couple of familiar faces in the import spots with Katherine Bell and Stephanie Niemer returning to the team for another conference.
“I just want to thank you guys for welcoming me back and I know I can adjust to any team so I can’t wait to start,” said Bell, who first played with the Blaze Spikers in the 2018 Grand Prix.
Niemer, on the other hand, last played with the Blaze Spikers back in 2016 when she was named the 1st Best Outside Spiker to go with the team’s bronze medal.
“The competition has gotten stronger and I’m excited to for the season to get started,” said Niemer.
Another asset Delos Santos has in his roster is national team libero Denden Lazaro, who joined the team in free agency from United Volleyball Club.
“I can’t say anything but good things about the attitude of the two imports and Denden,” said Delos Santos, who’s also the Philippines’ women’s volleyball head coach.
“Denden has been teammates with some of my players in the national team and the two imports are really open-minded so their adjustment wasn’t that hard. The two imports are both experienced players and I’m glad we got those two.”
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