Petron, F2 Logistics battle for right to face Foton in the Finals

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 05, 2016 10:19 AM
Petron, F2 Logistics battle for last Finals berth
Defending champion Petron collide with F2 Logistics in a knockout semifinals match to set up a best-of-three championship series date with Foton.

Foton secured the first Finals berth.

Now its F2 Logistics and reigning titlist Petron’s turn to shoot for the second championship berth when they clash in the semifinals of the 2016 Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.

Intense action starts at 4:30 p.m. following the 2:30 p.m. battle between Cignal HD Spikers and Standard Insurance-Navy Corvettes in the first game.

Bannered by the stars of reigning UAAP champion La Salle, the Cargo Movers are slightly favored after they dominated the Tri-Activ Spikers twice to close out the double-round eliminations with just a single loss. Their lone setback was handed by Foton, which booked the first finals slot following a thrilling 21-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-21 win over RC Cola-Army in the other semifinal pairing late Thursday at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center.

The win sent the Tornadoes to their second consecutive finals appearance after conquering the 2015 Grand Prix that gave Foton the ticket to represent the country in the AVC Asian Club Championship happening next month in Binan, Laguna.

Laure tallied 18 kills and three blocks for a total of 21 points while Santiago and Maika Ortiz had 17 and 13 points, respectively.

Rondina finished with 13 points, but provided the spunk and a lot of energy that left the older, depleted Lady Troopers groping for form.

“Army is such a strong team. Even if they are depleted, they still gave us a good fight,” said Tornadoes’ coach Villet Ponce-de Leon, noting that the absence of RC Cola-Army’s top gun Rachel Anne Daquis worked to their advantage.  “We’re just happy that somehow we managed to overcome their resiliency and composure.”

With Daquis nursing a broken foot, Jovelyn Gonzaga registered 20 kills and four blocks for the Lady Troopers, who saw their dynasty come to an end after suffering a complete meltdown and finish the tournament with five consecutive setbacks.

A win by F2 Logistics will pit it against its tormentors in a best-of-three finals duel starting next week.

On the other hand, a setback will send the Cargo Movers to a knockout encounter against RC Cola-Army in the battle for 3rd to 4th places.

F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus, however, doesn’t want to be complacent.

“Advancing to the finals will only happen if we will beat Petron on Saturday,” he said. “Petron is also a young and dangerous team. We have to minimize our errors and improve our defense if we want to stand a chance.”

True enough, overcoming the Tri-Activ Spikers will not be a walk in the park.

Led by veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas with an army of young guns in Bernadeth Pons, Frances Molina, Remy Palma and Mina Aganon, Petron is expected to go all out, especially after coming up with a morale-boosting straight-set victory over the Lady Troopers at the end of the second round.

Petron coach George Pascua said their defense at the net featuring middle blockers Palma, Cherry Nunag and CJ Rosario as well as on the floor with Bang Pineda and Jen Reyes would serve as their main weapons against the hard-hitting Cargo Movers.

“Our defense will carry us through,” said Pascua, who guided the Tri-Activ Spikers to a historic 13-0 sweep of the All-Filipino Conference last year. “Our attacks may falter, but we have to make sure that our blocking and floor defense will be sharper in the semis.”

Pascua noted that they have to stop the attacks of Ara Galang, Paneng Mercado and Cha Cruz from the wings as well as Aby Marano and Mika Reyes in the middle in order for them to dictate the tempo.

“We have to take away those scoring options,” he said. “We had a hard time stopping their attackers in our previous game. We have to do some adjustments on defense to throw them off their comfort zone on offense.”

Meanwhile, the winner between the HD Spikers and the Corvettes will march to the classification battle for 5th to 6th places against Generika, which pulled off a 21-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-14 conquest of Amy’s Thursday. 

The loser, for its part, will be relegated to the battle for 7th to 8th places against Amy’s.

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