Making several on-the-fly adjustments, the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers found the right mix of players just in time to sneak away with Game One of the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Cup against the Petron Blaze Spikers, 18-25, 25-23, 20-25, 29-27,16-14, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Leading 2-1 in sets, Petron mounted a furious comeback in the fourth set, erasing a 13-17 F2 Logistics lead to grab a 19-18 advantage. Winger Cherry Rondina kept Petron ahead all the way into the late game, powering a hit over two blockers for a 23-22 lead. But the Cargo Movers stayed in the match through gritty play in long rallies, eventually forcing a deuce. F2 Logistics caught a break, as a setting error from Rhea Dimaculangan gave the Cargo Movers a crack at set point, 26-25. Former UAAP Most Valuable Player Ara Galang then kept pushing F2 Logistics ahead, setting up Majoy Baron’s block on Rondina that forced a decider.
F2 Logistics scurried ahead in the fifth set, with Des Cheng hustling for back-to-back points and an 11-8 lead. Petron gasped in a last ditch comeback, tying the match at 14 after F2 Logistics’ offense fell silent. UAAP Season 79 MVP Majoy Baron then capped the match, swiping a hit past two blockers, before serving an ace.
Head coach Ramil de Jesus exhausted all of F2 Logistics’ lineup options as he urged his players to show their championship heart.
“Marami medyo kabado pa. Sabi ko nga sa kanila, Finals ito. Hindi pwedeng hindi natin tibayan ang loob natin at ganoon lang ang ipakita namin,” he said.
Galang topped all scorers with 18 points and also gathered nine excellent receptions. Baron managed 15 markers on eight attacks, four blocks, and three aces.
Bernadeth Pons and Mika Reyes each tallied 14 points for Petron.
The Cargo Movers can close the series in Game Two on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena and claim their third overall title.
F2 Logistics (3) – Galang 18, Baron 15, Maraño 10, Cheng 9, Morente 7, Cruz-Behag 6, Dy 6, Tiamzon 4, Ogunsanta 3, Cobb 0, Gallenero (L), Macandili (L)
Petron (2) – Pons 14, Reyes 14, Pontillas 13, Molina 12, Rondina 12, Cortez 3, Tunay 3, Dimaculangan 2, Palma 2, Agudo 0, Legacion 0, Duremdes (L), Gaiser (L)