PSL Collegiate Grand Slam Power Rankings: Unbeaten UP solo on top

With a Thailand-based training camp at stake, the action in the first installment of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Collegiate Grand Slam Conference is starting to gain steam after two playdates.

Only played every Saturday, the six participating collegiate teams have all debuted and shown an early preview of what they are capable of to win the inaugural season of the collegiate tourney.

Three of the top bets to win the conference came from the highly-vaunted UAAP and are currently sitting at the upper half of the standings, while dwelling at the lower half are the teams who are yet to find their groove.

Action resumes on November 17 with the much-anticipated clash between UAAP heavyweights University of Sto. Tomas and Far Eastern University at 12 n.n.

Check out our Power Rankings:

6. DLSU – Dasmariñas Lady Patriots, 0-1 (0 points)

The Lady Patriots have to work through their offense and net defense as they absorbed a straight set demolition, 21–25, 16–25, 11–25, from FEU last Saturday.

The Cavite-based squad was outmatched by the Lady Tamaraws in all departments but digging, where they tallied 59 digs compared to FEU’s 49.

Rain Cyrille and Mara Galicia combined for a meager 13-point output for the Lady Patriots, who were outmatched in attacks, 20 to 43, and blocks, none to five.

5. Colegio of San Agustin – Biñan Eagles, 0-2 (0 points)

After two tries, the hapless CSA– Biñan is still winless following their four-set loss against the UP Lady Maroons.

The Eagles displayed grit and grind and managed to steal a set from the newly-crowned PVL collegiate champion before dropping the 6–25, 25–21, 16–25, 22–25 match.

The Laguna-based squad needs to improve their receiving game as the Lady Maroons preyed on their weak reception with huge 16 aces.

4. University of the East Lady Lady Warriors, 0-1 (0 points)

The University of the East (UE) is still touting a 0-1 card after not seeing action last weekend.

The Lady Warriors bowed to the Lady Maroons in four sets, 25-22, 16-25, 22-25, 29-31, to open their campaign with a loss.

Mary Ann Mendrez and Judith Abil conspired for 29 hits, while Kath Arado dished out 30 digs and 23 excellent receptions on a losing effort.

3. Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, 1-0 (3 points)

FEU essayed an impressive sweep of DLSU-D Lady Patriots, 25-21, 25-16, 25-11, in their conference opener.

After the tight first frame, the Morayta-based Tamaraws got deadlier in the last two with upcoming UAAP rookie Lyca Ebon and Ivana Agudo leading the charge.

They have to control their errors, though, as 15 of DLSU-D’s 16 points in the second frame were from their miscues.

2. University of Sto. Tomas Golden Tigresses, 1-0 (3 points)

Coach Kung Fu Reyes had the opportunity to field all of his wards during the UST’s 25-12, 25-13, 25-10 win against CSA Eagles.

Everyone from the Tigresses’ 14-woman lineup saw action and scored in their debut win, with Milena Alessandrini and rookie Eya Laure leading the way with eight hits apiece.

UST fired 38 kills on a 37.18 percent success rate and made a living from the service line with 12 aces compared to CSA’s zero.

1. University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, 2-0 (6 points)

UP was on a roll as they topped the standings with an unblemished 2-0 slate.

The Lady Maroons bucked a second frame setback and clobbered the CSA Eagles in four set, 25-6, 21-25, 25-16, 25-22.

Rookie Nicole Ann Magsarile took off the scoring load from skipper Tots Carlos as she led the team with her 12 kills and three aces for 15 markers.

(Photo credit: Philippine Superliga)

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Silent yet effective: The resurgence of Carmina Aganon to fame

By Alvin John Tañada

With the absence of sister-tandem Jaja and Dindin Santiago, who are having stints in a Japanese league overseas, the Foton Tornadoes are looking into its bench for someone to take on the lead role.

And they just found a gem in the silent yet effective Mina Aganon.

Aganon has been wreaking havoc for the Lady Tornadoes in their past three games, amassing an average of 17.6 points per game — enough to lead the team to three straight victories early this season

The former National University standout has shown a true heart of a competitor, a warrior and a true assassin, and now it’s showing in the 2018 PSL Chooks-to-go All Filipino Cup.

Known to many as Mina — or the famed “SanChai” moniker given her by Noel Zarate — Aganon told FOX Sports Philippines on what is expected of her, especially with the absence of the Santiago sisters.

“Sa team and sa akin, wala naman expectations kasi bagong team na naman, rebuilding na naman kami. Naglaro lang kami ng dapat naming laruin, na kahit may pressure at kinakabahan, na kahit ngayon lang nababad ulit, ang maganda, maayos ang nilaro at naipanalo namin,” she said in a post-game interview.

The 24-year old, who also played in the now-defunct Shakey’s V-League, had been instrumental to the previous teams she joined like Petron in the PSL and Army and Kia for V-League.

While she’s taking care most of the scoring this season, Aganon still gives credit to the talent of her teammates.

“We are not loaded, compare sa ibang teams, loaded na sila. Compare sa amin, ako, (Arianne) Layug, Gen (Casugod), di kami ganung kagamit compare sa iba. Mahirap sa amin na after ilang years na di nagamit mahirap ibalik ang dating nilalaro pero dahil sa tulong ng coaches at teammates namin, nagkaroon kami ng kumpiyansa,” she added.

In their debut game for the season against Generika, the Tarlac-born spiker exploded for 20 points — an unprecedented production in her career.

She, in fact, did not recognize when was the last time she scored such production.

“After ilang years, ngayong taon lang ako naka-20 points ulit, last 20 points ko was college pa ata, di ko din maalala kung naka 20 points ba ako sa Petron.”

For sure, Aganon will prove a lot of doubters wrong as the season progresses. No doubt that an assassin is on the loose.

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Petron overcomes slow start to sweep Smart

The Petron Blaze Spikers displayed grind and grit to overcome the pesky Smart Giga Hitters in straight sets, 25-23, 25-14, 25-18, in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All Filipino Conference 2018 Thursday night at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Starting slow each set, the Blaze Spikers banked on their championship experience to cop their third win in as many outings at the expense of Giga Hitters, who fell to a 0-2 card.

Down by two, 21-23, in the opening frame, Petron rallied behind off-the-bench star Sisi Rondina’s offense and consistence services for a 4-0 run to steal the set from the Giga Hitters.

The Blaze Spikers caught fire in the second set, freezing Smart’s offense before bagging the tight third set via late game heroics from Ces Molina and Aiza Maizo.

Molina led the assault with her 16-point output built on 11 kills, three aces and two blocks as the Blaze Spikers joined F2 Logistics and Foton Tornadoes in yesterday’s winning column.

Maizo added 12 hits for the Blaze Spikers, while Mika Reyes chipped in 11 points.

Aiko Urdas, Jer Malabanan and Gretchel Soltones conspired for 37 tallies to no avail as Smart absorbed its first loss of the conference.

Petron takes on rival Cargo Movers tomorrow at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, while Smart looks to bounce back versus Foton on Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

COACH ROGER’S QUIRKY REMINDERS DURING TIMEOUTS

DIMACULANGAN WOVE HER MAGIC

AGELESS AIZA MAIZO DOING THE DAMAGE

DEEP BENCH FOR PETRON

ICONIC MATCHUP

THE GAME WINNING POINT

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Foton turns back error-plagued Generika for first win

The Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy may be missing the loaded services of the Santiago sisters, but they remain as a title contender in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All Filipino Conference 2018.

In a first look of their lives sans Dindin and Jaja Santiago, the Tornadoes eked out a 20-25, 25-21, 25-14, 19-25, 15-5 victory against Generika Ayala Lifesavers in their opening game on Saturday night at the Ynares Sports Complex.

The Tornadoes dominated in the third set, burying the Lifesavers in a game-high 14-point deficit for a 24-10 lead. Generika scored three straight points in a late attempt to turn the tables around, but to no avail as a costly service error handed the set to Foton.

The Lifesavers waxed hot early on off a Patty Orendain point before the Tornadoes retaliated to erase a three-point deficit and build a 10-8 blitz. With Foton plagued by shaky reception and late set miscues, Generika reclaimed the lead en route to winning the set.

Down by two, Foton made a 3-0 run for a 22-19 edge towards the end of the second set, before Gen Casugod fired a running kill followed by a Mina Aganon ace to seal the deal.

It was a tight fourth set between the two opposing squads before the Lifesavers pulled away after the second technical timeout to force a rubber set.

With Generika falling into a maze of errors, Foton took the driver’s seat right away in the decider and never looked back to pocket their first win of the season.

Mina Aganon racked up 11 kills, four blocks and five aces for 20 markers to give Tornadoes a win-loss 1-0 card. Maika Ortiz added 12 hits.

Fiola Ceballos’ 21-point output laced with 13 digs went for naught as Generika absorbed its first loss.

The Tornadoes held the edge in blocking and serving as they tallied 10 and 11, respectively, compared to the Lifesavers seven apiece.

Generika registered more kills, 55 to 41, but doubled Foton’s errors as they committed 42.

Here are some of the best moments in Twitter during the tightly-contested match:

TIRELESS KATH ARADO

MAIKA ORTIZ’ PATENTED RUNNING SPIKE

EX-LADY SPIKER ARIANNE LAYUG DEBUTED IN PSL

FIOLA CEBALLOS AND PATTY ORENDAIN FOR GENERIKA

AARON VELEZ SERVING LOOKS

FOTON PLAYERS STEPPED UP WITH THE ABSENCE OF SANTIAGO SISTERS

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Santiago sisters set to make Japan debut today

Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat are set to make their much-anticipated debut as imports in the highly-vaunted Japanese V. Premiere League today.

Jaja and the Ageo Medics will kick off their campaign against Kurobe Aqua Fairies at 11 a.m. in the Eastern Conference.

In the Westedurn Conference, Dindin and the Toray Red Arrows face the defending champions Hisamitsu Springs at 2:10 p.m.

Their debuts are tipped to be nothing short of historic as they are the first Filipina spikers to suit up in the Japanese tournament, dubbed one of the best club leagues in the world.

The 22-year old Jaja is expected to beef up Ageo Medics’ bid for a better finish after finishing 7th in the 2017-18 season.

The 6-foot-5 spiker will be playing alongside Croatian spiker Katarina Barun and Japan national team stalwarts Ayaka Matsumoto (middle blocker) and Akane Yamagishi (libero).

The 25-year old Dindin, meanwhile, will be working with former and current Japan national team players for Toray, who finished sixth last year.

Dindin will play with with Ai Kurogo, Mari Horikawa, Kaho Ohno, Arisa Sato and Jana Kulan from Azerbaijan.

Suiting up for different clubs, this will be the first time in three years that the National University standouts will be playing against each other.

The last time Dindin and Jaja squared off was during the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix best-of-three Finals between Petron Blaze Spikers and Foton Tornadoes.

The older Santiago transferred to Foton in 2016 to play alongside her sister and together, the two emerged as the Tornadoes’ most important players, helping the squad clinch one championship and three third place finishes.

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Foton, Smart, Cocolife top jersey designs

PSL

During the Rio Olympics in 2016, global star spiker Zhu Ting and the China women’s volleyball team opted a plain, yellow and red jersey.

Though the jersey design was criticized for its plainness and awful color combination, its purpose, it seems, was to reciprocate the loud, vibrant air of the Brazilian crowd.

Absorb it did as the Ting and China emerged as the gold medallist of the tournament.

Volleyball jerseys are more than just uniforms that players wear on court. They serve a purpose as volleyball is not just a game of receiving the ball, setting up plays, and scoring a point.

It is no surprise, then, that the eight teams competing in the upcoming Philippine Superliga (PSL) All Filipino Conference 2018 will be parading well-designed jerseys.

The PSL unveiled the jerseys of the participating clubs yesterday with the tournament just four days away from its grand opening day October 30.

Expect an explosive return to the league from coach Roger Gorayeb and his Smart Giga Hitters wards as they will be wearing green-, white- and gray-colored jerseys.

Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo and the Petron Blaze Spikers will be bannering jerseys that look similar to the ones they paraded last year as they hope to repeat the feat.

The reigning silver medallists F2 Logistics Cargo Movers’ plain and simple yellow and red jerseys are as plain and simple as their goal to reclaim the AFC throne they once own in 2016.

Following the simplicity trend are the Generika Ayala Lifesavers, whose jerseys are a mixture of orange, white and blue colors.

Signal-like designs at the left and ride side can be seen at the red and white jerseys of Cignal HD Spikers, who are looking to clinch their second PSL title.

The Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors’ mixed color of gold, white and green jerseys symbolize their roster, which is composed of veteran players and young spikers.

Another eye-catchy designs are those of the yellow-, white- and green-colored jerseys of the Cocolife Asset Managers, who will also try to catch their elusive first PSL trophy with blue-chip recruit Kalei Mau.

But the best jersey design, as per most of the fans, belongs to the Foton Tornadoes.

Maika Ortiz, Mina Aganon and Bea de Leon will be donning blue-, white- and dark blue-colored jerseys with an imprinted Foton logo.

Furthermore, there is noticeably no ‘skorts’, combination of skirts and shorts which were implemented since 2016, from the revealed jersey designs.

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PSL: Cocolife seeks redemption as Kalei Mau debuts

The Cocolife Asset Managers look to erase the forgettable memory of their dismal outing last conference when they participate in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All Filipino Conference 2018.

Finishing the Invitationals conference at the bottom of the 10-team tourney, the Asset Managers want nothing but to recover from the sorry campaign and finally capture their first PSL championship.

A total of 17 players were listed in the submitted lineup of Cocolife, whose best finish was fourth in the past two installations of Grand Prix.

Joining forces to lead Cocolife are former Ateneo Lady Eagles Marge Tejada, Aeriel Patnongon and national team libero Denden Lazaro, and ex-La Salle hitters Justine Tiu, Gyra Barroga and Denise Tan.

The Asset Managers will also draw support from Erika Alkuino, Dancel Dusaran and Patria Jela Peña and recruits Danika Gendrauli and Mary Grace Berte.

Completing the roster are Ma. Cecilla Bangad, Shannen Palec, Iona Yongco, Arianna Angustia, and Yvette Tongco.

But all eyes would be on Cocolife’s blue-chip recruit in spiker Tyler-Marie Kalei Mau.

Mau, who arrived at the Asset Managers camp last August, is billed to wreak havoc from the wings with her 6-foot-1 frame and experience in the international arena.

The Fil-Am outside hitter will be carrying most of the scoring load for Cocolife, who will be mentored anew by Serbian coach Branislav Moro.

The Asset Managers will spread their wings when they clash with Petron Blaze Spikers on October 30, 4:15 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

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PSL: BDL set to return for Foton minus Laure, Santiago sisters

Contrary to the previous reports, EJ Laure will not be suiting up for the Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All Filipino Conference 2018.

Laure, who has not been in action since December after sustaining an injury, was previously reported to power Foton in its campaign as she was welcomed back by the team last month.

But due to yet-to-be-known reason, the UST spiker will sit out anew this conference.

Though the absence of Laure and the Santiago sisters will greatly affect Foton’s chances of winning the conference, hopes are still high for the two-time PSL champions.

Bea de Leon, who was reported to miss the conference as she and the Ateneo Lady Eagles are currently competing in the rival league, returned for another tour of duty.

The Tornadoes also tapped the services of Arianne Layug, Carla Sandoval, La Rainne Fabay and Kathreen Barrinuevo to strengthen their campaign.

In the absence of Santiago sisters, who are set to see action in Japan, Maika Ortiz is expected to step up to lead Foton together with mainstays CJ Rosario and Ivy Perez.

Also back for the squad are Mina Aganon, Iumi Yongco, Geneveve Casugod, Gyselle Sy and Shaya Adorador while Aaron Velez call the shots from the sidelines.

Foton takes on Generika Ayala Lifesavers on November 3, 5 p.m. at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.

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LOOK: PSL Collegiate Grand Slam 2018 schedule

PSL

A short tournament with a large reward is expected when the first ever Philippine Superliga (PSL) Collegiate Grand Slam 2018 rolls out.

Aside from the bragging rights in winning the inaugural season of the PSL-CGS, the champion team among the six participating squads will also be getting a Thailand training camp.

The collegiate tilt, which will be played every Saturdays, is set to fire off on November 3 until December 20 with a total of 17 matches across eight weeks.

Tots Carlos and the University of the Philippines will kick off the season against Roselle Baliton-led University of the East at 12 n.n. before the University of Sto. Tomas led by Tin Francisco clashes with Colegio San Agustin at 2 p.m.

Check out the rest of the schedule here:

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LOOK: PSL All-Filipino Conference 2018 schedule

PSL-Petron

The upcoming Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference 2018 promises two months of high-caliber volleyball action among the country’s top clubs as it is set to roll from October 30 to December 20.

Less than two weeks away from its opening day, the All Filipino Conference will roll out a total of 49-52 matches across eight weeks and 20-22 playing dates.

Defending champions Petron Blaze Spikers are up for a great challenge as title favorites F2 Logistics Cargo Mivers, Foton Tornadoes and Cignal HD Spikers shoot to steal the crown.

Also posing as potential threats are the newly-minted Smart Giga Hitters, Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors, Generika-Ayala Lifesavers and Cocolife Asset Managers.

Serving as opening salvo, the Giga Hitters are set to lock horns against Lady Realtors at 2 p.m. followed by the battle between the Blaze Spikers and the Asset Managers at 4:15 p.m.

The Cargo Movers and the HD Spikers will clash at 7 p.m. to cap off the grand opening day of the much-anticipated tourney.

Check out the rest of the schedule here:

(Photo from Philippine Super Liga/Facebook page)

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