Globetrotting import Lindsay Stalzer was the MVP when the Petron Blaze Spikers took the 2018 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix title.
It was then a surprise when Stalzer suited up for F2 Logistics – Petron’s perennial rival, whom they beat in the 2018 Finals – for the 2019 Grand Prix.
Both Stalzer and Petron have been mum on their parting, but it isn’t new for Stalzer to play on a different team. F2 Logistics are her fourth PSL club in six years.
When facing Petron this year, F2 Logistics did not fare well – until the Finals. The Blaze Spikers were on a 17-game tear, but it was F2 Logistics who came out with poise in Game One.
The Cargo Movers ended Petron’s streak and stepped closer to taking their fourth franchise title with a win in Game Two on Thursday.
Stalzer was her usual productive self, turning in 21 points, seven of which came in the pivotal fourth set. After two quick elimination round losses, the 34-year old winger was glad to have finally solved Petrom.
“I feel really good. I knew we were capable of it. This team has really grown throughout the season and it’s always nice to beat the team that you used to play for,” she said, adding that she had been thinking of playing against Petron for most of the tournament.
“I think (about that) before the game… All season, actually, when I’m not playing, it has been on my mind. But during the game, I’m just focused on getting the win.”
Stalzer points out that it was crucial that the Cargo Movers adapted to setter Alex Cabanos, who stepped in for injured Kim Fajardo midway through the elimination round. The Cargo Movers’ injuries have helped their main cast bond.
“I think it was just the fact that we had to accept that Alex is our setter now. For a while, they were telling us that Kim’s gonna be back for quarterfinals. When that didn’t happen, they said she’d be back by semis. Now, it’s obviously not gonna happen,” shared the two-time PSL MVP.
“We have so few subs to come in anyway, so I think that makes us tighter. We’re really used to who’s on the court.”
The biggest game changer was MJ Perez, who flew in to replace Becky Perry as F2 Logistics’ import late in the second round. Petron had not faced Perez this conference, and the Venezuelan turned in 24 points, three of which were the match’s last points.
“I think the girls all know her (Perez) and love her from last year, so that’s a big thing,” Stalzer said of Perez, with whom she had played in Indonesia.
“Maria’s a crucial-point player as well. If we need a big point, she usually gets a kill. We all feel – especially me – that we can count on that. It makes us all a little more comfortable.”
For Game Two, Stalzer just wants her team to maintain their laser focus.
“We gotta focus because we know that they’re gonna come back a lot harder.”