For all of Petron’s success in the Philippine Superliga, a title defense had always eluded them.
Perhaps all the team needed was a heartbreaking run in the 2018 Invitational Cup to propel them to an inspired campaign in the Chooks to Go-PSL All-Filipino Conference.
The Blaze Spikers lost just one match in the tournament en route to repeating as All-Filipino champions. Petron’s goldmine of a year culminated last Thursday after they dispelled F2 Logistics in another classic chapter to their already-storied rivalry.
Petron’s Mika Reyes has been a key figure since joining the team in 2017. Not only has Reyes been pivotal in the Blaze Spikers’ last three title runs, she also came over from F2 Logistics, whose coaches and players she had played with since college.
Reyes, who averaged seven points per match in the Finals, insists that every title she has won is special, just for the unique challenge each of them required to win. Getting to defend a championship, however, does make her latest win a bit sweeter.
“Every conference naman special. Siguro extra special kasi na-defend namin ‘yung All-Filipino and sobrang pinagharapan namin ‘to,” Reyes said, adding that she has not yet stuck any plans for 2019.
“Mas marami akong natutunan ngayon. Ngayon, nasa cloud nine pa rin ako. Hindi ko pa iniisip ‘yung next for me. Pahinga muna ako.”
Having faced off with her former teammates for the fifth time in the last two years, Reyes made it a point to laud F2 Logistics’ effort.
“Actually, at first, sabi namin na hindi namin sila pwede bigyan ng panalo. Kilala naman natin sila. Ang taas ng respeto namin sa kanila,” the 24-year-old blocker expressed.
“Kumbaga, monster sila. Babawi at babawi ‘yan. We made sure na hindi namin sila sobrang aalalahanin and mag-focus sa kaya naming gawin sa loob ng court.”