F2 Logistics draws first blood, downs Foton in Finals opener
Mark Escarlote on Aug 11, 2016 10:03 PM
BEAST MODE: F2 Logistics' Abigail Marano dropped 17 points in leading the Cargo Movers in a five-set Finals Game 1 win over the Foton Tornadoes.
F2 Logistics recovered from a meltdown in the third and fourth set with a strong performance in the deciding frame to move a win closer to claiming the 2016 Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference crown.
The Cargo Movers broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth set with a strong rally to build a five-point lead and keep the Tornadoes at bay for a 25-20, 25-14, 9-25, 20-25, 15-10, win in Game One of the best-of-three championship series Thursday night at The Arena in San Juan.
F2 Logistics is one win away from clinching the title and joining the list of league champions Philippine Army, Petron and Foton. Game 2 in on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the same venue.
Abigail Marano exploded with 17 points to lead F2 Logistics, smashing in 11 kills with five kill blocks and adding one service ace in the Cargo Movers’ total of 14 service winners.
Ara Galang had nine points while Kim Dy scored eight for F2 Logistics, which received 39 free points off Foton’s errors including the game clinching long attack coming from Cherry Rondina.
“Expected ko naman na mahirap. Nagulat nga ako na doon sa first two sets nakuha agad naming siguro nagtyaga rin ang team,” said F2 Logistics coach Ramil De Jesus, who scored his first championship series game win after getting swept in his first two Finals appearances for Generika Lifesavers in the 2014 Grand Prix and Shopinas.com in the 2015 All-Filipino both against Petron.
The Cargo Movers disrupted the flow of offense of the Tornadoes with heavy services, successfully taking the ball away from Foton’s 6-foot-5 middle hitter Jaja Santiago in the first two sets. But the Tornadoes bounced back mightily in the third and fourth frames behind Santiago and Rondina.
“Noong first two sets nakakakilos and well distributed ang bola pero itong third and fourth kasi na-maximize ang open at opposite namin eh, nakalimutan ang gitna. ‘Yun ang big adjustment namin sa fifth set,” said De Jesus.
The Cargo Movers broke a 3-3 deadlock with an 8-3 spurt capped by Kim Fajardo’s service ace for an 11-6 lead. F2 Logistics reached match point, 14-8, before Foton saved two points.
Rondina overcooked her cross court kill as the Cargo Movers celebrated their victory.
Rondina scored 22 points while Santiago had 19 for the Tornadoes, which had a total of 54 kills including 17 each from their top scorers.
Meanwhile, former three-time champion RC Cola-Army regrouped in time to stave off dethroned Petron in a thrilling five-set windup 25-18, 25-23, 21-25, 19-25, 15-11, in the knockout battle for third.
AVC Asian Club Championship and FIVB Women’s Club World Championship-bound Jovelyn Gonzaga scored 22 points she collected from 17 kills and five kill blocks while Honey Royse Tubino had 15 for the Lady Troopers, who won the inaugural Invitational crown, 2013 Grand Prix and 2014 All-Filipino in succession before skipping the next three conferences.
Jessey De Leona and Nene Bautista had 10 markers each for RC Cola-Army, which ended a five-game losing slump with a consolation win despite playing without injured Rachel Anne Daquis (plantar tear) and Joanne Bunag (calf strain).
The Lady Troopers squandered a two-set lead as the Tri-Activ Spikers, who lost the last title it held after yielding the Grand Prix crown to back-to-back finalist Foton Tornadoes last year, fought back to tie the match and force a decider.
But veteran RC Cola-Army proved to have better legs in the fifth set racing to an early 4-0 record and never gave Petron a chance to even the set. The Lady Troopers reached match point, 14-9, before Petron mounted a last hurrah with two straight points. Gonzaga ended the two-hour, 20-minute match with a power kill.
Bernadeth Pons finished with 17 points, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas had 12 while Ces Molina ended up with 11 markers for Petron.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles