It’s going to be an action-packed double-header as unscathed teams F2 Logistics and Cignal gun for a sweep in their respective pools to claim the two outright semifinal berths in the last day of the preliminaries of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference today at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.
Brimming with confidence with a clean 3-0 win-loss record in Pool A, the Cargo Movers renew their rivalry with Petron in a titanic clash at 7 pm in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, UCPB Gen and SOGO Hotel with ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.
The HD Spikers, also holding a perfect 3-0 slate in Pool B, seek to clinch the other outright semis ticket as they clash with Cocolife in the 4 pm appetizer of the midseason conference that also has Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.
Led by resurgent veteran Rachel Anne Daquis, defending champion Cignal tries to make a return trip to the semis, which will leave Smart-Army and Sta. Lucia Realty in the crossover quarterfinals against the No. 3 and No. 2 teams in Pool A, respectively.
But all eyes will be on the much-anticipated battle between F2 Logistics and Petron, who have been clashing for the past three finals series.
F2 Logistics is just a win away from reaching the semis after bagging its third straight win in routing University of the Philippines-United Auctioneers Inc. in straight sets, 25-13, 25-22, 25-16, late Wednesday.
Majoy Baron led the collective effort of the Cargo Movers as she finished with nine points while Cha Cruz-Behag and Kianna Dy contributed seven hits apiece to keep their unbeaten run going.
F2 Logistics head coach Ramil De Jesus is confident with the hunger and eagerness of his wards in beating Petron, the squad that dethroned them in the previous Grand Prix.
“Every time we have a great match-up like Petron, I don’t have to remind my players because they are preparing hard and eager to win this kind of games,” De Jesus said.
“Hopefully, everyone will step up and their great body condition will work again,” added the De La Salle mentor, who also pin his hopes on Aby Maraño, Ara Galang, setter Kim Fajardo and Dawn Macandili.
The Blaze Spikers, on the other hand, will be licking the wounds of their 23-25, 25-19, 22-25, 33-31, 15-11 defeat to Generika-Ayala Lifesavers, who finish with a 3-1 record in their group with a quarterfinals berth.
“It was an off game and we have to accept that defeat. We have to move on and be ready for F2 Logistics,” said Petron Head Coach Shaq Delos Santos, who is expecting a bounce back performance from Ces Molina, Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Bernadeth Pons, Sisi Rondina and setter Rhea Dimaculangan.
“We’re eager to beat each other because we’ve been rivals in the past Finals. We cannot tend to relax this time and prepare for their service, pattern of defense and everything,” he added.
Petron needs to beat F2 Logistics in three or four sets to earn three more points and steal the top spot via one-point victory in the quotient as the Blaze Spikers currently have seven points, just two markers behind the Cargo Movers.
A loss would drag Petron down to the third spot facing the second placer in Pool B as Generika-Ayala rises at No. 2 to book a quarterfinal duel with the other group’s No. 3 squad.
F2 Logistics 3-0
Sta. Lucia 2-2
(Muntinlupa Sports Center)
4 pm — Cignal vs Cocolife
6 pm — Petron vs F2 Logistics