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F2 Logistics forces championship decider after late Petron collapse

Unlike in the All-Filipino Conference, F2 Logistics refused to be swept by Petron in the 2017 Chooks-to-Go PSL Grand Prix Finals

The Cargo Movers hammered out a revitalizing five-set comeback win, 25-20, 24-26, 20-25, 25-19, 15-4 , to force a do-or-die match for the PSL’s most prestigious crown at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

F2 Logistics broke out their vaunted thicket of blockers to open the match. The Cargo Movers shot up to an 8-3 lead in the first set off back-to-back blocks from Aby Maraño and Maria Jose Perez. Their lead persisted, with Petron making a late run to come within three, 23-20. Blocking again spelled the difference in the final stretch, as F2 Logistics’ wall stymied a backrow try from Hillary Hurley, then a right side Lindsay Stalzer bomb to close the set.

Petron regained form in the second set, blasting F2 Logistics with strong serves and garnering a late 21-16 advantage. The Cargo Movers refused to go down quietly, taking the lead at 22-21 and forcing a late deuce. But the Blaze Spikers outclassed the Cargo Movers in the clutch, pulling off timely defensive plays and transitioning into consecutive hits for Lindsay Stalzer that clinched the set.

The Blaze Spikers not only tied the match in the second set — they also deflated F2 Logistics’ spirited start. Looking for answers, the Cargo Movers tried subbing out import Kennedy Bryan, but found no answers from  their locals off the bench. Petron built a 19-10 wall and never looked back.

Petron seemed to have the championship in sight, sprinting to a 9-0 lead in the fourth set. Bryan, however, redeemed herself and led an epic F2 run that saw the Cargo Movers draw a 22-18 lead and force a decider.

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F2 Logistics continued to revel in their new rotation, while Petron fell apart in the fifth set. The Cargo Movers scored in a myriad of ways, including easy free balls, in a 10-3 opening salvo that decided the match.

“‘Yung fourth set, talagang wala na ‘yun. Kumbaga, ‘yung rotation na ‘yun gamble na lang talaga,” said F2 Logistics head coach Ramil De Jesus, who slotted Bryan at opposite and used Cha Cruz as the other open hitter late in the fourth set. “Nakatikim na kami ng panalo, sana magtuloy-tuloy na ‘to.”

Perez finished with 25 points, while Bryan added 15 to top the Cargo Movers in their first win in the Finals against Petron this season.

Lindsay Stalzer led the Blaze Spikers with 24 points while Hillary Hurley managed 16.

Game Three will be on Saturday, December 16, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores

F2 Logistics (3) – Perez 25, Bryan 15, Maraño 12, Baron 10, Cruz 8, Dy 7, Fajardo 3, Cheng 0, Santos 0, Tiamzon 0, Macandili (L), Saga (L)

Petron (2) – Stalzer 24, Hurley 16, Meneses 7, Pontillas 6, Dimaculangan 5, Reyes 5, Molina 1, Palma 1, Hingpit 0, Rondina 0, Fukuda (L)

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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