Newcomer San Jose Builders to bank on familiarity, speed in PSL

Familiarity and speed will be the primary weapons of New San Jose Builders when the Victorias make their much-awaited debut in the 2016 Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference women’s volleyball tournament on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.

Built around the core of NCAA powerhouse Perpetual Help, the Victorias intend to make their presence felt and coach Ken Moleno believes they have what it takes to contend with 3-time champion RC Cola-Army, Petron, Foton, Cignal and fellow newcomer F2 Logistics in the inter-club tourney that will be aired live over TV5.

“We will give them one hell of a fight game in and game out,” said Moleno, the former St. Francis of Assisi playmaker who served as chief deputy of mentor Sammy Acaylar when the Lady Altas dominated the country’s oldest collegiate league from 2012 to 2014.

“The PSL is a very competitive league. But I believe that we have the tools to surprise other teams. We will be banking on our familiarity, speed, conditioning and, of course, hunger to make it to the top. We’re not yet looking at the bigger picture. We will take it one game at a time,” added Moleno.

Although they have been flying under the radar in the pre-season, Moleno is confident that could work in their favor as the Victorias hope to catch their foes by surprise starting with fellow newcomers, the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, in the 2nd match of an explosive opening-day double header.

“They hardly know us,” noted Moleno. “We will come up with combination plays, defensive patterns and attacks they have never seen before. Yes, we are underdogs, but we will show our mental toughness and we will not succumb to pressure whenever the situation gets tough.”

Leading the San Jose Builders’ attack is spiker Coleen Bravo while 6-foot-3 blocker Lourdes Clemente will anchor the defensive line.

Also carrying the load are Perpetual mainstays Jamela Suyat, Cindy Imbo, Shyra Umandal, Necelle Mae Gual, Jowie Verzosa, Jhona Rosal, Vhima Condada, Grace Gayo, Marijo Medalla and setter Shyra Cabriana.

Maribeth Laro and Arnie Yumul were also plucked from La Salle-Dasmarinas and Emilio Aguinaldo College, respectively, to reinforce the Victorias.

“Do not count us out,” Moleno said. “We’re not promising to win the crown, but we will always come up with a very good fight against highly-favored teams. We can’t wait for the tournament to begin.” — By Jerome Lagunzad