MANILA, Philippines – After a grueling series of knockout battles over the weekend, the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix semifinal cast is all set.
The journey uphill wasn’t easy for RC Cola Army and F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, but last Sunday’s double header proved how these two heavily-favored teams rightfully earned the last two spots in the semis.
In 3 days, they face the toughest challenge in the tournament yet – to steal a win from league leaders Foton and Petron and grab the chance to play for the best-of-3 Grand Prix championship.
Until then, one question will remain hanging in the air – is there an upset brewing in Saturday’s semifinal showdown?
Pressure is high
Just like any spectator, Foton head coach Moro Branislav believes that anything is indeed possible. Even before the elimination round came to a close, the Serbian mentor already had his eyes set on nothing but the upcoming do-or-die semis.
“In my opinion, the most important is the semifinal. [It] gives one chance for one team who is better. Maybe you play one or two matches [in the prelims] and you win. But it is more important in the semifinal to win.”
In the Tornadoes’ last game against Petron, Branislav stressed out the importance of getting their service and block numbers high. Looking forward, however, the lone mindset he wants to impart on his team is to just fight and win the championship.
“Normally, my [game] plan is to win. I like to win the championship. But this is difficult. Maybe Foton [is] first [in the preliminaries], and maybe in the semifinals we lose. So it is important in the semifinal to win.”
Coach Moro is likewise aware that his squad has some work to do as they continue their quest back to a podium finish. On Saturday, the Tornadoes fly to Legazpi City to square off with a tough Army team that has definitely tested the defending champs countless times.
“You see, the last time we played it reached 5 sets. The RC Cola team, it’s a difficult team to play,” shared Branislav.
With unpredictability being the name of the game, the pressure is now at an all-time high for the 4 remaining teams in the conference. Whether the fans will soon be treated to a Foton-Petron finals rematch remains to be seen. – Rappler.com