By Jerome Lagunzad
New-look Generika-Ayala and Sta. Lucia Realty, along with perennial contender Foton, are brimming with new-found confidence as they bring in new mentors in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix that gets going this Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
After failing to make it to the semifinals last year, the Lifesavers will come in as the darkhorse team following the hiring of promising tactician Sherwin Meneses, who is set to take over the coaching reins from former national team mentor Francis Vicente.
Meneses, con-current assistant coach of the Ateneo Lady Eagles, will be assisted by former Iriga City coach Parley Tupas as Generika-Ayala intends to bounce back behind the presence of Croatian import Katarina Pilepic, Mexican Kimberly Gutierrez and Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago.
Expected to provide them ample support in the tourney bankrolled by Asics, Mikasa, Mueller, Senoh, Grand Sport and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner are top locals Angeli Araneta, Ria Meneses, Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain.
The Lady Realtors are also eager to hold their ground further, with George Pascua, the architect of Petron’s 13-0 sweep of the All-Filipino Conference in 2015, calling the shots this time in lieu of Jerry Yee who decided to join a new team in another league.
The con-current Far Eastern University coach has already put the key pieces by acquiring veterans Michelle Laborte and Rubie de Leon who can help star MJ Philips, Rebecca Rivera, Pamela Lastimosa, Jonah Sabete as well as Canadian imports Marisa Field and Kristen Moncks and Bohdana Anisova of Ukraine.
“We want to see Micmic (Laborte) and Rubie mentoring our young players,” said Pascua, who is setting his sights on a semifinal finish, his modest goal for now.