F2 Logistics launched a torrid rally late into the match to pull off a heart-stopping 25-20, 24-26, 14-25, 25-19, 15-4 victory over Petron to equalize their Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix best-of-three finals series last Dec 14 at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Cargo Movers crawled back from a deep 0-9 hole in the fourth set before going for the kill in the fifth to conquer Game 2 and send the series of this tourney that has Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller, Grand Sport, Island Rose, Cloudfone and UCPB Gen as sponsors into a rubber match on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Import Maria Jose Perez of Venezuela sizzled at the attack zone, but veterans Cha Cruz and Aby Maraño delivered by engineering a furious rally in the fourth set en route to a masterful performance in the decider.
Perez, who campaigned for the Venezuelan national team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, tallied 20 kills to finish with 25 points while Kennedy Bryan also stepped up and chipped in 15 markers for F2 Logistics who are looking to avenge their setback to Petron in the finals of the All-Filipino Conference last July.
National team member Maraño delivered 10 points highlighted by four blocks of the Cargo Movers’ 17 total blocks.
Cha Cruz emerged with eight points, most of which coming in the crucial fourth set.
Head coach Ramil de Jesus lauded his wards’ great defense but noted that it was their composure in the fourth set that prompted them to deny Petron its second Grand Prix title in four years.
“They (Petron) felt it was over,” said de Jesus, heaving a sigh of relief after the Cargo Movers recovered from a sluggish start in the fourth. “If you look at it, you may think that it’s already over. But my team refused to quit. We managed to stay close in the fourth set to gain momentum in the fifth set.”
De Jesus added that Game 3 would be anybody’s ballgame.
“I think we already have the momentum,” he said. “It’s going to be an intense battle.”
Lindsay Stalzer, Most Valuable Player in 2015, knocked down 20 kills and three aces for 24 points while Hillary Hurley had 16 markers for Petron, which is pressured to avert an earth-shaking collapse.
Dec 16 Finals at Mall of Asia Arena
4pm @F2CargoMovers vs Petron
Tickets available at gate or SM TIckets