F2 Logistics, Petron near Finals rematch
Mark Escarlote on Apr 23, 2019 09:54 PM
Defending champion Petron picked up from where it left off as the Blaze Spikers shrugged off a rusty start to defeat Cignal in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinals series.
F2 Logistics turned to import Lindsay Stalzer in the tight fourth set contest as the Cargo Movers beat PLDT Home Fibr, 25-14, 18-25, 25-16, 25-22, to draw first blood in the best-of-three 2019 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix semifinals at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan on Tuesday.
The American reinforcement hammered F2 Logistics’ last three points in the fourth frame to break a 22-22 deadlock to finish off the Power Hitters and move a win closer to its sixth straight Finals stint and seventh overall.
“At least one step ahead kami sa PLDT para mas tumaas pa ang morale ng mga bata,” said head coach Ramil De Jesus, whose squad can close the series on Thursday.
Meanwhile, defending champion Petron dismantled Cignal, 20-25 25-14, 25-13, 25-18, for a 1-0 lead in their semis pairing.
The unbeaten Blaze Spikers recovered from a first set meltdown to crush the fourth seed HD Spikers for their 16th straight victory. Petron can set up a sixth straight Finals showdown with the Cargo Movers with another win on Thursday.
American imports Kath Bell and Stephanie Niemer scored 24 points each for the Blazer Spikers.
Erica Wilson got 19 markers while Anastasia Artemeva posted 14 points for the HD Spikers.
Stalzer, who led Petron to the crown last year against her current squad, finished with 29 points coming off 24 attacks, three aces and two kill blocks for the Cargo Movers.
But De Jesus admitted that Stalzer got a bit frustrated in the second set with relief setter Alex Cabanos, who filled in for injured main playmaker Kim Fajardo (right pinky finger), not tossing the right sets that she wanted.
“Actually, noong second set napu-frustrate na siya, ayaw na niyang paluin ang bola makikita mo. Sabi ko you ibigay na lang yung leadership and maturity. Ayun medyo nagising siya and pagdating ng third set nag-iba na ang kilos. Alam naman niya ang trabaho niya,” said De Jesus. “Minsan talaga gusting pumelo pero hindi makapalo. Mahirap kasi sa spikers yung hindi mo alam saan itataas ang bola, mahirap gawan ng paraan.”
Venezuelan import MJ Perez had 19 points, 15 digs and nine excellent receptions while Aby Marano and Ara Galang scored 11 and nine markers, respectively, for F2 Logistics.
Grace Lazard and Kendra Dahlke had 21 and 19 points, respectively, for third seed PLDT.
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