F2 Logistics is out to complete one of the biggest upsets in league history when it clashes with Petron in Game 2 of their Philippine Superliga Grand Prix best-of-three finals showdown today at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Intense volleyball action fires off at 7 p.m. with the Cargo Movers looking to bank on the momentum they gained from an earth-shaking 25-20, 16-25, 25-23, 25-23 win in Game 1 of this prestigious women’s club league broadcasted by ESPN5 and 5Plus.
The Cargo Movers played like champions in the opening salvo of this series that has Asics, Mueller, Mikasa, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Cocolife, Hotel Sogo and Data Project as sponsors.
Lindsay Stalzer and Maria Jose Perez, two imports who thrive when the stakes are high, were simply impressive as they towed the Cargo Movers to a red-hot start before unleashing a strong finishing kick in the third and fourth sets to shock the erstwhile unbeaten Blaze Spikers.
Perez, the Most Valuable Player two years ago, fired 24 points with 11 excellent receptions while Stalzer torched her former team with 21 points and 17 digs to put the Cargo Movers on the brink of one of the biggest upsets in PSL history since RC Cola-Army stunned the Thailand juniors team in the gold-medal match of the Invitational Conference in 2016.
Middle blockers Majoy Baron and Aby Maraño were also instrumental as they registered six of their 10 blocks in the fourth set, leaving Petron imports Stephanie Niemer and Katherine Bell struggling for form.
“We came into the match with a mindset that we have nothing to lose,” said F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus, who also engineered the Cargo Movers’ come-from-behind win over the Blaze Spikers in the Grand Prix finals series in 2017.
“But our imports wanted it more. They were very hungry to win against a very strong and talented team like Petron.”
But De Jesus knows that bringing down Petron requires more than just a stroke of luck.
Niemer and Bell are tipped to bounce back while the core of Mika Reyes, Rhea Dimaculangan, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Frances Molina and Denden Lazaro are expected to bring their A-game now that they are staring defeat into the eye.
“The big question to the team is: Can we sustain this? We know this is worthless if we couldn’t finish the job,” said De Jesus, whose wards survived a 30-point outburst from Bell and a 20-point effort from Niemer in Game 1.
“But we went here with very low expectations. We came here with nothing to lose and everything to gain. We’ll still do whatever preparation we had in Game 1. We will basically run the same plays and the same defensive patterns the rest of the way.”