Superliga: Petron looks to close out F2 Logistics in All-Filipino finals

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Petron’s Mika Reyes tests the defense of F2 Logistics in Game 1 of the PSL All-Filipino Conference finals. Handout

MANILA, Philippines – Powerhouse Petron attempts to finish its task of dethroning reigning champion F2 Logistics in Game 2 of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference finals on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The Blaze Spikers look to capture their third PSL crown after winning the 2014 Grand Prix and the 2015 All-Filipino titles.

Petron drew first blood in the best-of-three series, stunning F2 Logistics with a 25-23, 25-21, 25-19 victory last Tuesday.

National team mainstay Frances Molina led the Blaze Spikers with 11 points, but it was a team effort as veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Mika Reyes, Sisi Rondina, Remy Palma and Bernadeth Pons also chipped in for Petron.

Petron dominated the attack zone, 37-29, and tallied more aces, 8-5, while displaying its brilliance on the floor with 34 excellent digs compared to only 22 for F2 Logistics.

However, Petron coach Shaq delos Santos stressed that as the team heads into Game 2, statistics and star power no longer matter.

“This is already the finals,” said Delos Santos. “It’s no longer a question of skills or talent; it’s now a question of willingness and desire.”

“Whoever wants it more, whoever is hungrier will definitely win the title.”

F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus, architect of De La Salle University’s dynasty in UAAP women’s volleyball, knows the series is far from over and is sure to make adjustments for Game 2.

“I know that what we showed in Game 1 wasn’t the real performance of F2 Logistics,” he said. “The adrenaline of the players in Game 1 was so high, that they tend to commit mistakes.”

“I told them that most of them were selected to the national team, so they might as well come up with a ‘national team-like’ performance,” he added.

National team setter Kim Fajardo was sluggish on Tuesday, while top spiker Ara Galang managed a measly three points. Another national team member in Abigail Maraño submitted a subpar performance as well; even star libero Dawn Macandili had no answer for the sharp kills and dinks by the Blaze Spikers.

Nevertheless, De Jesus is keeping his faith in his players, who have been battle-tested in their title run over Foton last year as well as their campaign in the UAAP.

“My players are warriors,” he said. “I know they will bounce back. It’s not over yet.”

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