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PSL: Blaze Spikers wary of new competition

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by Rafael Bandayrel

Defending champions Petron Blaze Spikers may look like the best team on paper, but they won’t be resting on their laurels heading into the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix that kicks off Saturday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.

“My personality is I don’t care about the past. You know, last year was last year. It’s done, it’s over with,” Blazer Spikers captain Katherin Bell said Sunday during PSL’s presser at the Sta. Lucia Grand East Mall in Cainta.

“It’s a new season. It’s a new group of girls coming in this season so same mindset. Come in work hard and get the result. That’s it,” she added.

Skippers and imports representing the eight teams in the 2019 PSL Grand Prix gather during the media launch on Sunday at the Sta. Lucia Grand Mall in Cainta.

Skippers and imports representing the eight teams in the 2019 PSL Grand Prix gather during the media launch on Sunday at the Sta. Lucia Grand Mall in Cainta.

Bell’s sentiment was echoed by her coach Shaq Delos Santos who said it’s going to be a wide-open race as every team bolstered their rosters with new additions.

Petron’s rival, F2 Logistics, sought the services of former Petron import Lindsay Stalzer and American-Italian Becky Perry. Meanwhile, United Volleyball Club – formerly known as the Cocolife Asset Managers – will be spearheaded by returning Tai Manu-Olevao who will be pairing up with Yasmeen Bedart-Ghani from California.

Boasting of American reinforcements are the Sta. Lucia Realtors who tapped middle blocker Molly Lohman of Minnesota and Casey Schoenlein of Washington, while the Cignal HD Spikers will rely on local Rachel Ann Daquis and imports Anastasia Artemeva and Erica Wilson.

With several talented players getting into the league, Delos Santos said it’s going to be a tough battle ahead.

“I tell the team that this is an entirely new battle,” said Delos Santos. “This is a very competitive field. We can’t be complacent. We have to be at our best every game if we want to retain our crown. We have to give our 100 percent game in and game out.”

Kick-starting the tourney are the United VC and the Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy that added Courtney Felinski as their guest reinforcement.

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