Bronze medal matches in the PSL have always been a lopsided affair.
But the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers and RC Cola-Army Troopers — two of the proudest organizations — looked to salvage a bronze finish in the 2016 Grand Prix and not let the other team have their way. In the end, the Cargo Movers escaped the FilOil Flying V Centre with the bronze trophy, 25-13, 25-20, 20-25, 20-25, 18-16.
The Cargo Movers seemed to have third place in the bag after dominating the first two sets through crisp ball control and transitions. But Army’s lineup shuffling paid off in the third set, as they gained momentum and found ways to the take extend the match to a decider through late rallies.
The fifth set then fell into a heavy back-and-forth, with neither side taking immediate control. The Cargo Movers picked up a 14-12 lead after an Aby Maraño quick hit. But an F2 Logistics attack error preceded a beautiful Jovelyn Gonzaga ace to force a deuce. Army then got their only crack at match point with a Tina Salak block on Ara Galang, 15-14. F2 Logistics battled hard, and eventually finished the match with a Mika Reyes swipe.
“Nawala kami sa focus noong third set and maganda for Army kasi talagang na-exploit nila ‘yung. Nawalang kami nang receive and napunta talaga sa kanila ‘yung advantage. Noong fifth set sinabi ko na lang na maglaro sila for pride and mag-enjoy. Mabuti nag-respond sila,” said F2 Logistics head coach Ramil De Jesus.
Towering import Hayley Spelman poured in a match-high 26 points, while Maraño and Galang had 14 and 12 markers, apiece.
After winning the All-Filipino Cup earlier this year, the Cargo Movers end their campaign with a podium finish in the Grand Prix.
With his team constantly shifting sponsors in the past, De Jesus is happy that he has the commitment of the F2 brass for the long haul.
“Nagsabi na sa amin na ngayon pa lang naghahanda na sila (F2 Logistics) nang one-year contracts for next year. So sana matuloy na talaga kasi mas maganda na hindi papalit-palit,” expressed De Jesus.
Kierra Holst led the Lady Troopers with 21 points, while Jovelyn Gonzaga and Royse Tubino managed 19 and 14 points, respectively.
Since winning the Invitational Cup to start the season, Army have finished third in the All-Filipino Conference and now settle for fourth.
F2 Logistics (3) – Spelman 26, Maraño 14, Galang 12, Reyes 9, Kemper 8, Dy 5, Fajardo 1, Baron 0, Cruz Ch. 0, Cheng 0, Macandili (L)
RC Cola (2) – Holst 21, Gonzaga 19, Tubino 14, Salak 5, Ripley 4, De Los Reyes 3, Bautista 2, Daquis 2, Gonzales 1, Sabas 1, Agno (L)