MANILA, Philippines – F2 Logistics arrested a late meltdown as the Cargo Movers grabbed a five-set victory over the Cignal HD Spikers 25-22, 26-24, 18-25, 17-25, 15-8, to move within a win of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference crown on Saturday, August 24 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Despite giving up a 2-0 set lead, the Cargo Movers found their groove just time in Game 1 of the best-of-three series and earned a chance to reclaim the title in Game 2 on Tuesday.
Kalei Mau did tons of damage from the back row and finished with 27 points, while Majoy Baron and Ara Galang added 11 points apiece for F2 Logistics.
F2 came back to life in the 5th set and fortified its net defense to neutralize the attacks of the HD Spikers, who dropped their first five-setter game after winning the first two against Petron.
The Cargo Movers overcame the early challenge of the HD Spikers, who unleashed a 6-0 run midway through the 2nd set that countered the early barrage of aces from Majoy Baron – who had 6 of the team's 11 – and trimmed the gap, 14-12.
F2, though, managed to wrap up the extended set in its favor as Cignal gave up free points off unforced errors.
Outstanding floor and net defense along with a much-needed offense from Alohi Robins-Hardy and Mylene Paat fueled the HD Spikers in the 3rd and 4th frames as they dominated in all aspects to force a deciding set.
Despite the loss, libero Jheck Dionela also had a stellar performance on the defensive end with 44 excellent digs and 11 excellent receptions as Jovelyn Gonzaga had 33 digs along with 12 points.
Robins-Hardy facilitated the Cignal offense with 11 points and 17 excellent sets while Janine Navarro stepped up and added 16 markers.
Petron salvages podium finish
Dethroned by Cignal a couple days earlier, the Petron Blaze Spikers bounced back and settled for a bronze medal after surviving the towering lineup of Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy, 28-26, 25-27, 25-21, 24-26, 15-12.
Sisi Rondina and the rest of the Blaze Spikers kept their poise in the end game and stormed back in what could have been another five-setter upset.
The high-flying Rondina was phenomenal, finishing with a 33-point performance, 30 coming from attacks. Ces Molina added 15 markers while middle blockers Mika Reyes and Remy Palma had 11 points apiece for Petron.
Down 16-21, the Santiago siblings of Jaja and Dindin fired in all cylinders and sparked Foton’s second-set comeback that resulted to another extended set, but it was Shaya Adorador who hammered down two quick kills to even the match.
Tables turned in the 3rd with Foton taking the driver’s seat early with a 10-5 lead, but Petron held their ground and used a 6-0 blitz to snatch the lead away, 22-18, on the way to a set win.
Hoping to close the match, Petron erased a three-point deficit and forced another deadlock at 23 in a highly emotional 4th set.
Veteran Dindin Santiago-Manabat, though, single-handedly kept her squad alive with back-to-back kills that forced a decider.
Foton exploited the errors Petron committed in the final frame and took a comfortable 9-5 advantage. However, it was the last good thing for the Tornadoes as the ‘Cherry Bomb’ Rondina exploded once more and scored 5 of the Blaze Spikers' last 6 points that gave them the last spot on the podium.
Santiago-Manabat had 26 points while Jaja Santiago added 22 points in a losing effort for Foton. – Rappler.com