IT’S going to be a war of hearts as the country’s most dominant teams – F2 Logistics and Petron – clash for one last time to determine who will claim the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference crown today at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Game 3 of this dramatic best-of-three series kicks off at 7 p.m. following the sudden-death finals showdown between University of Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines at 4 p.m. and the battle for bronze between University of the East and Far Eastern University at 2 p.m. in the Collegiate Grand Slam.
After racing to 12 consecutive victories, the Blaze Spikers booked a finals duel with bitter rivals Cargo Movers, sparking speculations that winning the title via a sweep is very much possible.
Petron took Game 1 in dominant fashion 25-23, 25-11, 25-17, to inch closer to another crown in this prestigious women’s club league bankrolled by Isuzu, Mueller, Asics, Mikasa, Senoh, Bizooku with Genius Sports as technical partner.
But disaster struck in Game 2.
The Cargo Movers marched to warzone with fire in their eyes, hounding and pounding the Blaze Spikers with their effective middle attacks and superb blocking in the second and third sets before going for the kill in the fourth en route to an impressive 21-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-17 victory.
F2 Logistics head coach Ramil de Jesus said a golden opportunity presented itself so they had no choice but to grab it, leading to a victory that did not only equalize the series, but also deny Petron a chance to duplicate the feat it registered in the All-Filipino in 2015.
“For as long as the opportunity to win comes, we’ll take it,” said de Jesus, who lit a fire under his players to make sure that they will deliver their best after a sorry Game 1 setback.
“I believe in my players. I know they will deliver. After all, we’re not just here to play – we’re here to win the title.”
In Game 2, Ara Galang was on fire as she delivered 17 kills to finish with 20 points while Majoy Baron and Cha Behag chipped in 14 and 13 markers, respectively, for the Cargo Movers, who asserted their mastery in the blocking department, 12-4, and the service box, 9-2.
“I don’t want to think that momentum is on our side. I don’t want my team to be complacent,” de Jesus said.
But Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos remains defiant, believing that they can still win the crown in this battle that has ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” said Delos Santos, recalling their sorry loss to the Cargo Movers in the Grand Prix of last year where they had a 1-0 series deficit only to collapse in Games 2 and 3.
“We’ve already learned our lesson. We won’t let this golden chance to slip away.”
He added that winning the title is their ultimate objective and they will finish the job whatever it takes.
“We’re still optimistic that we can defend the title,” said Delos Santos, who will bank more on star players Rhea Dimaculangan, Mika Reyes, Remy Palma, Sisi Rondina, Bernadeth Pons, Ces Molina and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas.