The Petron Blaze Spikers made sure to end 2018 with a classic, inching past rivals F2 Logistics Cargo Movers to bag the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference championship in Game Three, 25-22, 26-24, 25-23, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Petron needed to gut out the first two sets. Down 18-19 in the opener, the Blaze Spikers rallied behind middle blocker Remy Palma to whip out a 5-0 run. F2 Logistics tried to come back, but a late attack error and another Palma kill iced the set for Petron.
F2 Logistics were on the cusp of taking the second frame after a beautiful Ara Galang tip gave them a 24-23 lead. But Petron quickly took advantage of costly Cargo Movers miscalculations. Aby Maraño started F2 Logistics’ tailspin with a service. Petron’s Mika Reyes then followed with a service ace. Reyes’ next serve gave Petron a crucial transition opportunity, which Aiza Maizo-Pontillas pounded to clinch the second frame.
The Blaze Spikers seemingly had the championship in hand at the onset of the third frame, holding 5-0 and 14-9 leads. F2 Logistics then erased both deficits through steady serving and staunch floor defense. Petron pulled away, 22-18, thanks to conversions from Ces Molina and Bernadeth Pons. But as F2 Logistics mounted a last gasp run, Pons and a setting error gave Petron the title.
“Sobrang happy namin kasi ibang hirap ‘yung pinagdaan namin para marating ‘to. Hindi talaga bumigay ‘yung F2,” said Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos, who won his third PSL title with the Blaze Spikers.
“Lumabas talaga ‘yung tiwala ng players sa isa’t isa. Straight sets ‘yung laban, pero ang daming times na muntik na talaga kami. Kumapit lang talaga ‘yung players,” the national team mentor added.
Petron have bagged their fifth overall title. They also triumphed over F2 Logistics for the third time in five Finals meetings.
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas led the Blaze Spikers with 13 points, while Bernadeth Pons added 11. MVP Rhea Dimaculangan tossed 31 excellent sets to go with three points.
Ara Galang and Cha Behag each managed 10 points for the Cargo Movers.
Petron (3) – Pontillas 13, Pons 11, Molina 9, Reyes 9, Palma 7, Dimaculangan 3, Rondina 3, Legacion 0, Pabayo 0, Tunay 0, Duremdes (L), Gaiser (L)
F2 Logistics (0) – Behag 10, Galang 10, Fajardo 6, Maraño 6, Baron 5, Morente 5, Dy 1, Cobb 0, Luna 0, Ogunsanya 0, Macandili (L), Saga (L)