THE champions of last year – F2 Logistics and Foton – march to the battlefield with high expectations when the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference erupts this Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Cargo Movers will be parading the core of reigning UAAP champion De La Salle University, while the Tornadoes will come up with a revamped roster in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Rebisco, Belo, Asics, Mikasa, Senoh and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
With star blocker Mika Reyes now playing for a different team, all eyes will be on UAAP Most Valuable Player Majoy Baron as she gets a bigger role in the rotation of the Cargo Movers, who ruled the PSL All-Filipino last year.
The 5’11” Baron will be backed by her La Salle teammates led by star libero Dawn Macandili, Desiree Cheng, Tin Tiamzon, Aduke Ogunsanya, Carmel Saga and another former MVP in Kianna Dy.
Veterans Aby Marano, Cha Cruz, Kim Fajardo and Ara Galang will remain the anchors on offense, while Cherry Nunag, Fritz Gallenero and Shawna-Lei Santos were also inserted for additional power.
Unlike the Cargo Movers, the reigning queen of the Grand Prix – Foton – will fashion a new look.
With more than half of their champion team gone, the Tornadoes recruited Nica Guliman, Heather Guino-o, Kyle Negrito, CJ Rosario and Roselyn Doria to back National Team star Jaja Santiago, Maika Ortiz, EJ Laure, Ivy Perez, Jen Reyes and veteran playmaker Rubie de Leon.
They will be supported by Iumi Yongco, Shang Berte and Glayssa Torres.
“I believe this is a fighting team,” said Foton team manager Diane Santiago, adding that her sister in injured quicker Dindin Manabat was assigned by Serbian head coach Moro Branislav to serve as trainer.
“As much as possible, coach Moro wants Dindin to remain involved with the team while she’s still in the process of recovery. Her appointment (as trainer) will surely prepare her for her comeback next conference.”
Foton will open its campaign against rookie team Cherrylume in the first game while Cocolife tangles with Generika-Ayala in the second match of the opening-day double-header, where half of the ticket sales will be donated to the medical fund of Olympian Ian Lariba.
The league goes full blast with its opening ceremonies on Saturday (June 10) also at the same venue.
Games on Tuesday (FilOil Flying V Center)
5 p.m. – Foton vs Cherrylume
7 p.m. – Cocolife vs Generika-Ayala