Five teams have already unveiled their foreign reinforcements as they brace for the the storm that is the upcoming Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix, which will make its landfall next month.
Barely a month before the new season unfolds, Petron, Foton, F2 Logistics, Generika and Cignal have already introduced the foreign reinforcements they will be parading for the import-flavored conference.
With their eyes firmly set on the prize, these PSL teams showed willingness to break the bank and acquire the best imports available, creating what could be the most diverse and most powerful pool of imports in the history of the league.
Shooting for back-to-back, the reigning champion Petron was the first to bare their imports as they tapped American ace spikers Stephanie Niemer and Katherine Bell.
Niemer and Bell have both played for the Blaze Spikers before with contrasting results as the former singlehandedly led the franchise to silver medal finish in 2016 while the latter fueled it to a title win last year.
— F2 Cargo Movers (@F2CargoMovers) October 22, 2016
Quality scorers in their own rights, the Niemer-Bell duo has already earned the respect of the teams – and the aficionados – as Petron became the earliest and heaviest favorite to win the title.
Not to be outdone, its perennial rival F2 Logistics will not go down without a fight after the acquisition of USA’s Rebecca Perry and Lindsay Stalzer.
A gem of a spiker who has vast international experience, Perry can wreak havoc both as outside or opposite spiker. But the Cargo Movers’ best trick was tapping Stalzer.
On her road to a sixth straight PSL stint, the two-time MVP and three-time champion Stalzer was Petron’s import from 2017-2018, powering the team to its second Grand Prix title last year with Bell.
Now with F2 Logistics, Stalzer looks to block her former team its goal of achieving back-to-back feat.
These two @linzeeemarie @HurleyHillary played and helped @Petron_Corp achieved their goals. On the 2019 grand Prix I will support Lindsay's team, whatever that team is. Welcome Home Stalzer @F2CargoMovers @SuperLigaPH pic.twitter.com/RwIzbocM7H
— Grethel (@Grethelvillapan) January 15, 2019
But F2 Logistics is not the only team Petron should worry about as Foton, Generika and Cignal are just as determined.
Settling for bronze in the last two iterations of the conference, Foton hopes to win its third title with former Turkish national team player Selime Ilyasoglu and American hitter Courtney Felinski as imports.
Ilyasoglu and Felinski are tipped to carry the scoring cudgels for the Tornadoes, who will still play sans the Santiago sisters.
Generika’s game plan looks to be focused on defense as they tap Lisbet Arredondo Reyes of Cuba and Kseniya Kocygit of Azerbaija.
Reyes, outside hitter, is a former Cuban national team player while middle blocker Kocyigit campaigns for the Azerbaijan national team.
Cignal, meanwhile, will be bannering American wing spiker/middle blocker Erica Wilson, who campaigned the USA national team in the 2013 FIVB Women’s Under-23 World Championship, while their second import remains unnamed.
Other PSL teams are yet to name their imports.
Though only five teams have revealed their reinforcements, the competition looks tough already. And when the Grand Prix lands next month, one thing’s sure: it will be one of the – if not the best – most explosive PSL conference the country will ever see.