No room for error as PSL do-or-die quarterfinals get underway

With the preliminaries already in the books, the quest for the crown intensifies as four teams figure in the do-or-die quarterfinals of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Reigning champion F2 Logistics battles Generika-Ayala at 5 pm while Cignal tackles Cocolife at 7 pm in a bid to advance to the semifinals of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Belo, Gold’s Gym and Rebisco with TV5 as official broadcast partner.

Foton emerged as top seed after submitting a 5-1 win-loss card at the end of the short – but very competitive – preliminaries of this tourney that also has Senoh, Mikasa, Asics, Mueller and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.

The Tornadoes will be facing young Cherrylume side while another powerhouse in Petron will test Sta. Lucia Realty in the other quarterfinal battle on Saturday at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center in Malolos City.

Led by the seasoned troika of Rachel Anne Daquis, Honey Royse Tubino and national team stalwart Jovelyn Gonzaga, Cignal is tipped to breeze through the Asset Managers following an emphatic 19-25, 30-28, 25-22, 25-16 victory over the Lifesavers in the final day of preliminaries late Tuesday at the Baliwag Star Arena in Bulacan.

In that match, the prized trio made its presence felt combining for 34 points while another veteran in Cherry Vivas chipped in 13 markers for the HD Spikers, who brushed off a rusty start en route to the overwhelming victory.

Cignal coach George Pascua lauded the effort of his wards, but raised the need for a strong start in anticipation for the tough battles in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

“We can’t afford to have a slow start in the next round,” said Pascua, who guided Petron to a clean sweep of this tourney two years ago.

“Things are definitely going to be very tough from here. We have to work on our previous lapses and make sure that we are ready for battle.”

On the other hand, Cocolife will also be marching to the quarterfinals oozing with confidence.

The Asset Managers shut down their campaign in the preliminaries with a morale-boosting 25-22, 25-16, 25-19 domination of Cherrylume also last Tuesday.

But still, Cocolife team captain Michele Gumabao claimed that they are far from perfect.

“We had some lapses in communication in our past few games. I hope we can resolve that now that we’re entering the quarterfinals,” said Gumabao, referring to her squad that is a mixture of of seasoned veterans and young players from University of Santo Tomas.

Aside from Gumabao, also expected to carry the fight for the Asset Managers are former Army blocker Joanne Bunag, Erika Alkuino, Wensh Tiu, Denden Lazaro, Mika Esperanza, Cherylain Dizon and Shannen Palec, who contributed nine points in their victory over the Iron Lady Warriors.