F2, Petron begin PSL All-Filipino title clash

The F2 Logistics Cargo Movers will defend their Philippine Superliga All Filipino Conference crown against the Petron Blaze Spikers Tuesday, at the Muntinlupa Sports Center | Philippine Superliga/ Roman Prospero

Games Tuesday:

(Muntinlupa Sports Center)

5 p.m. – Foton vs Cignal

7 p.m. – F2 Logistics vs Petron

MANILA, Philippines — F2 Logistics switches its title-retention bid a notch higher when it clashes with powerhouse Petron in Game One of their Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference best-of-three finals series Tuesday at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.

Elite women’s volleyball action unfolds at 7 p.m. with both the Cargo Movers and Blaze Spikers looking to gain momentum in this thrilling series that is tipped to go down the wire due to the power, intensity, heart and desire of both teams.

Prior to that, Cignal and Foton will try to shut down their respective campaigns on a high note when they figure in the battle for 3th to 4th places in the 5 pm first match.

Rookie team Cocolife copped the fifth place after defeating Sta. Lucia while Generika-Ayala captured the seventh place after overcoming Cherrylume in the classification phase.

Petron, the squad that swept this tourney two years ago, is said to have an edge after booking a scary 23-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-15, 15-9 victory in their first and only match this conference.

The Blaze Spikers have a loaded roster.

Former F2 Logistics star Mika Reyes is anchoring the defense at the net together with collegiate stars Marivic Meneses of University of Santo Tomas and Remy Palma of Far Eastern University.

High-flying Bernadeth Pons, Carmela Tunay and Sisi Rondina as well as mainstays Frances Molina and Mina Aganon are taking charge of offense while veterans Rhea Dimaculangan and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas provide the leadership.

But for head coach Shaq Delos Santos, despite his powerhouse squad, overcoming a very disciplined, very talented team like F2 Logistics is easier said than done.

“Having a strong lineup alone is not the key to winning a title,” said Delos Santos, adding that it’s quite difficult to stop the rampaging F2 Logistics squad. “We still have to work hard and prepare. It’s going to be an exciting battle.”

True enough, F2 Logistics wouldn’t go down without putting up a fight.

After a couple of early setbacks to Petron and Cignal, the Cargo Movers were unstoppable as they prevailed in their next five assignments, including straight-set victories over Generika-Ayala in the quarterfinals and Cignal in the semifinals.

In that string of victories, reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player Majoy Baron shone the brightest while Kim Fajardo, Aby Marano, Kim Dy and Ara Galang were also impressive, proving that they are ready to defend their title at all cost.

“Majoy got a break when Mika left,” said F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus after the prized middle blocker from Tarlac dropped four consecutive aces that were instrumental in their semifinal victory over the HD Spikers last week.

“She’s now more confident, especially after being named season MVP of the UAAP. Her confidence level was so high right at the start of the season.”

De Jesus added that they are using their previous setback to Petron as a springboard to win the title, his second in the country’s most competitive and star-studded league if ever.

“We always play our best coming off a loss,” he said. “We’ll surely use our previous loss to Petron as a motivation. So let’s see. I hope our services and floor defense work again in Game 1 (of the finals).”