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After semis loss, Shaq Delos Santos vows: ‘Babalik kami’

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Tiebreaker Times After semis loss, Shaq Delos Santos vows: 'Babalik kami' Basketball News PSL  Shaq delos Santos Petron Blaze Spikers 2019 PSL Season 2019 PSL All Filipino Conference
Photo by Roman Prospero/PSL

Petron reigned supreme over the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference for the last two years, but their long streak of dominance came to a halt on Thursday evening.

In Game One, Petron suffered a come-from-behind heartbreaker that erased their twice-to-beat advantage. Tonight, the Blaze Spikers then had the chance to give the Cignal HD Spikers a dose of their own medicine.

Mired in a 0-2 pit, the troika of Sisi Rondina, Ces Molina, and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas carried the scoring load for the Blaze Spikers. Together, whittled away the deficit to eventually force a rubber set.

However, the HD Spikers proved to be the hungrier team in the final chapter of the epic series. With the battle-tested duo of Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga behind the wheels, Cignal dethroned the three-peat seeking Blaze Spikers.

Still gracious in defeat, Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos tipped his hat to the victors.

“Yung eagerness din nung Cignal… Sobrang ganda rin ng naging performance nila every time na maglalaban kami,” Delos Santos said.

“Sa four times namin na game, never silang nag-give up talaga.”

The Blaze Spikers were heavily favored to win it all this year. They entered the semifinals series carrying the momentum of a 12-game winning surge.

Petron even perched atop the standings at the end of the preliminaries with a conference-best 13-1 win-loss record – including a season-series sweep of the HD Spikers, who surrendered two five-setters to Petron.

But this will be the first time since 2016 that Petron won’t be competing in the biggest stage of the All-Filipino tourney.

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Nonetheless, Delos Santos told his wards to keep their head high despite the heart-wrenching loss.

“Hindi namin kailangan mahiya kasi sobrang proud ako sa team namin. Sobrang lumaban kami hanggang dulo,” he said.

“Sobra namin kayong pinagmamalaki and part ng journey namin. Kumbaga, sabi namin na kailangan mas maging matured pa yung team and maging solid pa.”

For now, Delos Santos and the Blaze Spikers will have to brush aside the dreariness and focus on the task at hand — a bronze match against the Foton Tornadoes on Saturday.

“Tatanggapin, maging matured and mag-plano sa susunod, mas pagandahin namin, and I think magre-ready ulit kami at babalik kami.”

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