(Photos by Raymond Braganza and Rave Sengco)
Superstars came to play.
It is no secret that Philippine Superliga (PSL) Finals protagonists F2 Logistics Cargo Movers and Petron Blaze Spikers are two powerhouse teams because of their loaded lineups and experienced coaching staffs. True enough, this factor became very evident in their first clash for the title on Tuesday at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.
The opening set of Game 1 of the PSL All-Filipino Conference turned out a tight contest as various players from both teams continuously racked up the points to keep it close. However, Petron mustered enough composure towards the end to take Set 1.
It was a different story in Set 2. The Blaze Spikers ensured an early separation from their opponents. Despite the gallant stand by F2 Logistics, energetic spiker Sisi Rondina came through for Petron off the bench to score the last two points to secure a 2-0 edge in the game.
The firepower and enthusiasm of Rondina spilled over in the third set as she sparked the comeback of her squad. Middle blocker Rem Palma also matched the intensity of counterpart Aby Maraño in the heated battle at the net.
In the end, the familiarity and tight bond of the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers was just not enough to overcome the overall team play of the Petron Blaze Spikers in straight sets, 23-25, 21-25, 19-25.
Team captain Ces Molina top scored for the Blaze Spikers with 11 points, while Rondina had five strong impact points.
Collegiate standouts Kianna Dy and Desiree Cheng tallied 11 and eight points, respectively, for the Cargo Movers.
Game 2 of the Finals is scheduled on Thursday, July 13, 7pm at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.