After two solid seasons, the partnership between Cocolife and star libero Denden Lazaro in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) has ended.
The Asset Managers formally announced that Lazaro would no longer return for another tour of duty as she is set to suit up for five-time champion Petron when the PSL Grand Prix fires off next month.
Team official Joshua Ylaya announced the transfer, saying that they are in full support to the decision of the former Ateneo de Manila University ace in her pursuit of her first PSL title.
At Petron, Lazaro is expected to provide grit and spunk at the defensive end, especially now that Buding Duremdes will return to her university team, Far Eastern Univeristy, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).
She will join a loaded roster composed of fellow national team members Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Frances Molina and Rhea Dimaculangan with Americans Stephanie Niemer and Katherine Bell serving as reinforcements.
She already reported when the Blaze Spikers had their first training last Monday.
“Denden is more than just a teammate – she’s a dear friend and part of our family,” said Ylaya, who tapped collegiate rivals Lazaro and Michele Gumabao as cornerstones of a team that was envisioned to feature former Ateneo and De La Salle University stars.
“Denden is a person of high character and a consummate pro. She proved that she could still play at a high level after helping us reach the semifinals in the Grand Prix last year. So, with a heavy heart, we announce her transfer to a new club and we wish her well in her quest for her first PSL crown.”
But the Asset Managers will not be left with an empty bag.
Through to its vision of serving as gateway of Ateneo players to the PSL, Cocolife will be bringing in middle blocker Amy Ahomiro and defense specialist Bang Pineda for the next conference.
Ahomiro, who was named as Finals’ Most Valuable Player in Season 67 of the UAAP, will make her PSL debut, formally joining the likes of Lazaro, Charisse Gaston, Bea de Leon, Marge Tejada, Aerieal Patnongon, Jhoanna Maraguinot and Jamie Lavitoria in the list of former Lady Eagles who moved to the PSL.
Pineda, on the other hand, is a superb backline defender, who played a crucial role when Generika-Ayala made it to the semifinals of the previous All-Filipino Conference.
“Also, we want to announce that we already reached an agreement with Amy Ahomiro and Bang Pineda for the upcoming PSL Grand Prix,” Ylaya added.
“Amy, who will play in the PSL for the first time in her career, will give us depth in the middle while Bang will help us overcome the dearth created by Denden’s absence in the backline.”
“Our still may still be a work in progress, but rest assured that we will be very competitive to give the heavyweights a serious fight in the upcoming PSL Grand Prix.”