PSL Grand Prix to showcase record nine-team field
Nine teams with multiple imports will vie for crown and glory in the 2017 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix.
Philippine Superliga will cap off its fifth season with an explosive nine-team field Grand Prix, which will unfurl on Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The competition gets even hotter with teams allowed to field up to three foreign players each. Two new teams will also be introduced in this edition of the season-ending conference with Iriga City and collegiate team University of Sto. Tomas joining the fray.
“With a record of nine teams, this is going to be the biggest PSL ever,” said PSL president Ramon “Tats” Suzara during the press launch graced by PSL chairman Philip Ella Juico and Bounty Agro Ventures president Ronald Mascarinas Wednesday at Vikings Luxury Buffet at MOA in Pasay City.
“We have a very competitive field and all teams are capable of coming up with a very good fight,” he added. “This is going to be a very great season and we know that only the strongest will survive.”
Defending two-time champion Foton remains to be one of the teams to beat with Serbian coach Moro Branislav bringing in compatriots and tested talents Sara Klisura and Katarina Vukamanovic as well as Montenegrin Dragana Perunicnic.
Giving the Tornadoes a run for their money are perennial powerhouse squads Petron, Cignal and F2 Logistics.
Powering the Blaze Spikers this time is seasoned reinforcement Lindsay Stalzer, who led Foton to its two titles, with another American Hillary Hurley and Japanese libero Yuri Fukuda.
The HD Spikers addressed their needs at the defensive end with the recruitment of Beth Carey of Australia, Alexis Matthews of United States and Mami Miyashita of Japan while the Cargo Movers will rest injured spiker Ara Galang, but her absence will be hardly felt with the acquisition of Kennedy Bryan of USA and former Olympian Maria Jose Perez of Venezuela.
Also seeing action are regulars Generika-Ayala, Sta. Lucia Realty and Cocolife.
The Lifesavers will parade Katarina Pilepic of Croatia, Penina Snuka of Hawaii and Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago, who is just fresh from leading her country to the FIVB World Championship in Japan next year.
Sta. Lucia, meanwhile, will have Canadian national team members Marisa Field and Kristen Moncks and Ukrainian Bodhana Anisova at the forefront while Cocolife will bank on Tai Manu-Olevao and Taylor Milton of the United States.
Iriga City would also be a force to be reckoned with despite being the league’s newest member.
The Lady Oragons will parade Tamara Kmezic of Serbia, who is the tallest import ever to play in the PSL at 6-foot-6. Kmezic will be assisted by Japanese libero Minami Yoshioka as well as local star Grethcel Soltones.
The Tigresses, meanwhile, is the only team without an import as they would be competing as a guest team in preparation for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament next year.