Petron, F2 Logistics go for all the marbles

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F2 Logistics seeks a historic victory while Petron aims to complete its return to the throne when they clash in a final Game 3 of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix best-of-three championship series today (Saturday) at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Intense action is expected unfold in the 4 p.m. encounter as the Cargo Movers and the Blaze Spikers are to go all out to formally claim the crown of this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Mueller, Senoh, Grand Sport, Island Rose, Cloudfone and UCPB Gen.

But F2 Logistics isn’t the lone squad that will try to make history.

The Cargo Movers-Blaze Spikers tiff has all the ingredients of becoming a classic.


Petron’s Lindsay Stalzer and Rhea Dimaculangan block F2 Logistics’ Kennedy Bryan during Game 2 of the 2017 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix finals at The Arena in San Juan City. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Since the PSL implemented a best-of-three finals format two years ago, no team has ever crawled back from a 0-1 disadvantage with Foton recovering from a Game 2 meltdown to win the Grand Prix crown in 2015 and F2 Logistics averting a massive collapse to clinch the All-Filipino Conference title in 2016.

After emerging victorious with an impressive straight-set victory in Game 1, the Blaze Spikers were all poised to capture the title after zooming with a 2-1 set advantage in Game 2.

But after posting a 9-0 advantage early in the fourth set, the vaunted floor defense and relentless attacks of the Blaze Spikers suddenly conked out, allowing the Cargo Movers to storm back and eke out a thrilling 25-20, 24-26, 14-25, 25-19, 15-4 victory to equalize the series.

In that match, veterans Aby Marano and Cha Cruz starred in the fourth set to engineer what could be the biggest, most thrilling comeback in the young history of this league that also has Gerflor and Gold’s Gym as technical sponsors and ESPN5 as broadcast partner.

Marano and Cruz delivered only 12 and eight points, respectively, but their presence on the floor was enough to lift the spirit of the Cargo Movers, who are looking for their first Grand Prix title and avert their sorry loss to the Blaze Spikers in the finals of the All-Filipino last July.

“Maybe they (Petron) thought it was over,” said de Jesus, whose wards are out to become the first PSL team to recover from a 0-1 disadvantage in the best-of-three finals.

“If you look at it, you may think that it’s already over. But my team refused to quit. We managed to stay close in the fourth set to gain momentum in the fifth set.”

De Jesus added that things are looking bright for them in Game 3.

“I think we already have the momentum,” he said. “It’s going to be an intense battle.”

Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos admitted that pressure is now on them following a sorry loss in Game 2.

Still, they have a one last chance to avert a massive collapse and win the title.

“It’s not yet over,” said Delos Santos, who will bank anew on his seasoned crew led by Lindsay Stalzer, Hillary Hurley, Rhea Dimaculangan, Mika Reyes, Frances Molina and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas.

“We learned a lot in Game 2. And we will absorb those lessons to get better and prepare for Game 3.”

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