Sta. Lucia eyes massive upset over Petron in PSL quarters

MANILA, Philippines – Its performance in the preliminaries may be forgettable, but Sta. Lucia vowed to spring a surprise when it clashes with Petron in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference.

Head coach George Pascua said they would go all out to avert a looming shutout and pull the rug from under the Blaze Spikers, who finished the preliminaries with 10 consecutive victories.

This season-ending tourney has been very grueling for the Lady Realtors.

Their top spikers in Filipino-American MJ Philips and Chin Basas crashed with season-ending injuries while former Ateneo de Manila star Jho Maraguinot has been struggling to regain the form she flashed during her collegiate days.

Former University of Santo Tomas star Pamela Lastimosa is also said to be hurting as well as a couple of other players who are nursing minor injuries.

Still, Pascua believes that no amount of injury can slow down their desire to win.

“We don’t want to end up winless,” said Pascua, a known motivator and no non-sense tactician.

“I told the players to give their all. We don’t want this to be our last game. We will play hard no matter who’s on the other end of the court.”

But it wouldn’t be easy.

Petron is looking to rewrite history by becoming the second squad that swept the All-Filipino Conference.

The Blaze Spikers were the first team to do that when the core of Aby Marano, Rachel Anne Daquis and Dindin Manabat posted 13 straight wins en route to the 2013 All-Filipino crown.

Interestingly, Pascua stood as head coach.

“Yes, I still remember that. I had a very strong team before and nobody beat us until we won the title,” said Pascua, who had current Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos and current Foton deputy Edjett Mabbayad as staffers.

“But the thought that Petron is getting close to achieving it is an added motivation. We want them to have a hard time before getting that sweep.”

 The survivors of the four quarterfinal battles will move on to the semis to determine who will figure in the best-of-three finals showdown starting December 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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