For imports Lindsay Stalzer and Maria Jose Perez of F2 Logistics, their victory over Petron in Game 1 of their Philippine Superliga Grand Prix best-of-three finals series is more than just a big feather on their caps.
It is also a sweet revenge.
Stalzer admitted that they prepared long and hard to set the stage for arguably the biggest upset in league history where they defeated the Blaze Spikers, 25-20, 16-25, 25-23, 25-23, in the opener of their finals showdown late Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The former Bradley University star said the victory was a vindication after the Blaze Spikers opted to sign super imports Stephanie Niemer and Katherine Bell in the off-season despite leading them to the Grand Prix title last year.
“I feel really good,” said Stalzer shortly after becoming the first team to tarnish Petron’s immaculate 17-0 mark in this conference bankrolled by Asics, Mueller, Mikasa, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Cocolife, Hotel Sogo and Data Project.
“This team (Petron) had really grown throughout the season and it’s always nice to beat the team that you used to play for.”
Stalzer said since coming over to replace Becky Perry two months ago, she had been wanting to win over her former team and lead the Cargo Movers to the title.
“It has been on my mind since I came over,” she said. “But during the game, I’m just focussed on getting the win.”
But the motivation of Perez is different.
After leading the Cargo Movers to a dramatic come-from-behind win in 2017, Perez suffered massive heartache after Stalzer, Hillary Hurley and the rest of the Blaze Spikers knocked the crown of their heads the following year.
This is her third finals battle against the Blaze Spikers and Perez admitted that she wants to make sure that the crown they used to have will be recovered.
“This is my third finals against Petron and I’m really motivated to get the win because this is the reason why I decided to come over,” said Perez, a member of the Venezuelan national women’s volleyball team.
“But we all know that this is just the first game so we have to be focussed and ready for the second day. We know Petron is capable of striking back so we have to be ready.”
Perez said they would still play with no pressure, knowing that the Blaze Spikers are the best in the business in turning a setback into a motivation.
“We are working point by point, set by set,” she said. “Just enjoy the process and the result is going to come.”
May 4 Saturday at FilOil San Juan
7pm Petron vs F2 Logistics