F2 Logistics and Petron seek to arrange another blockbuster finals duel when they clash with separate foes in Game 2 of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix best-of-three semifinals series today at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The Cargo Movers are tipped to go all out when they face Foton at 4:15 pm while the Blaze Spikers go for the jugular against Cocolife in the 7 pm main battle of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
After ruling the Grand Prix in dramatic fashion against Petron last year, F2 Logistics is poised to book a return trip to the best-of-three finals after hammering an emphatic four-set victory over Foton late Tuesday, 25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22.
In that match, the Cargo Movers were unstoppable as they unleashed a well-balanced attack laced with airtight defense that left the Tornadoes fading down the stretch.
Imports Kennedy Bryan and Maria Jose Perez led the assault with 15 and 14 markers, respectively, for the Cargo Movers, who capitalized on the Tornadoes 39 total turnovers in the match that lasted for one hour and 44 minutes.
“It’s still a long way to go,” said F2 Logistics coach Arnold Laniog, who is subbing in for De La Salle University mentor Ramil de Jesus.
“We’re studying the stats and it was a very close match if not for their errors. But they are taller and stronger so we have to make some minor adjustments and find a way to neutralize Jaja (Santiago) and (Channon) Thompson at the attack zone.”
Laniog said for them to emerge victorious, they have to draw impressive performance from their local stars like Aby Maraño, Ara Galang, Cha Cruz and Cherry Nunag.
“Foton is a very tall team,” he said. “Our locals should all step up and be aggressive so we can match the height and the length of Foton.”
Also seeking to punch a return ticket to the finals of this tourney that also has Senoh, Mikasa, Asics, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors is Petron.
The Blaze Spikers managed to withstand the power of Serbians Marta Drpa and Sara Klisura to eke out a controversial 25-18, 23-25, 25-16, 25-23 win over Cocolife in Game 1.
Although the Asset Managers placed the match under the protest due to a rotation error committed by setter Rhea Dimaculangan in the most crucial stretch of the match, the league upheld the outcome vowed that it would further improve its officiating in cooperation with Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI).
“The Philippine Superliga (PSL) has approved the recommendation of its technical committee to uphold the result of the protested first match of the best-of-three semifinal series between Petron and Cocolife,” the league said in a statement, adding that it had already suspended the two referees who officiated the match.
“The technical committee invokes the agreement that the referees’ decision is final. Therefore, the PSL turned down the protest.”
Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos said they are aware that the Asset Managers are plotting a massive comeback so they will do everything to draw enough firepower from Lindsay Stalzer, Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Frances Molina and new import Katherine Bell, who erupted for 29 points in Game 1.
“They will be back, that’s for sure,” said Delos Santos, who is looking to guide Petron to its first Grand Prix crown in four years.
Apr 26 @FilOilSanJuan Game 2 of best of three semi finals
415pm F2 Logistics vs Foton
7pm Petron vs Cocolife
Buy tickets at the gate of the venue, P150. Both games live on ESPN5 and Cignal’s Hyper.