Defending champion F2 Logistics did damage from the service box to cruise to an easy 25-21, 25-17, 25-14 victory over Cignal in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix March 15 at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
With Venezuelan import Maria Jose Perez and Kim Fajardo at the helm, the Cargo Movers asserted their dominance early on before going for the kill en route to this impressive victory in this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by UCPB Gen and Isuzu with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
Perez, reigning Most Valuable Player awardee delivered 15 kills to finish with game-high 16 points while Fajardo uncorked five aces on top of 18 excellent sets to help the Cargo Movers solidify their hold at the second spot with a 4-1 (win-loss) card in this league that also has Senoh, Mikasa, Asics, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
Kennedy Bryan and Aby Maraño were also on fire as they knocked down nine points apiece while playing solid defense at the net, leaving HD Spikers’ prolific imports Jeané Horton of United States and Sonja Milanovic struggling for form.
But for F2 Logistics head coach Arnold Laniog, it was their solid game from the service box that led to this triumph that was completed in just 68 minutes.
“We identified Cignal’s weakness when it comes to first ball,” said Laniog, the College of Saint Benilde mentor who is subbing in for De La Salle University head coach Ramil de Jesus.
“That’s why I told the team to come up with a solid performance from the service box. We targeted their open spikers like Rachel (Daquis) and Horton to take them out of their comfort zone. I’m glad that our game plan worked.”
Laniog said they could have won it more convincingly if not for the four consecutive errors in the first set that transformed their 12-7 lead into a tight 19-all battle.
The Cargo Movers sizzled as they erected a 12-point lead in the second set, 22-10, off a running attack by Maraño.
Then they enjoyed an eight-point advantage in the third set, 19-11, off a gift from Maraño. Although Milanovic connected on a beautiful cross-court attack, Perez quickly restored order with a powerful backrow kill before watching Horton commit a blunder at the firing end for a wide 20-12 lead in the third set.
“As a whole, I’m satisfied with how we performed,” Laniog said. “At least we saw the aggressiveness, the strong start that we want to see from them. If not for those four errors at the end of the first set, the result would have been more convincing.”
Milanovic finished with 12 points while Horton had only 10 markers for the HD Spikers, who suffered their third loss in five matches.
#PSLGrandPrix Sat Mar 17 at Muntinlupa Sports Center
1:45pm @F2CargoMovers vs Foton (Live AksyonTV)
4:10pm Cignal vs Smart Prepaid (Live ESPN5)
Both games live on Cignal’s Hyper and Livestream
Tickets available at the gate.