Petron draws first blood against F2 in the PSL Grand Prix Finals

Games Thursday:
(Filoil Flying V Centre)

7 pm – F2 Logistics vs Petron

Petron inched closer to the coveted title as it demolished F2 Logistics, 25-14, 25-21, 25-16 in Game 1 of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix best-of-three series last night at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley were on fire, hounding and pounding the Cargo Movers’ defense to submission to pull the Blaze Spikers to their second Grand Prix title in this tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Grand Sport, Senoh, Mueller, Island Rose, Cloudfone and UCPB Gen.

In the first game, reigning champion Foton salvaged some measure of pride as it pulled off a 25-17, 25-16, 25-17 victory over Cocolife to cop the bronze medal in this battle that also has Gerflor and Gold’s Gym as technical sponsors and ESPN5 as broadcast partner.

Jaja Santiago spearheaded the assault with 10 kills, four blocks and three aces for 17 points while import Sara Klisura and Dragana Perunicnic submitted 13 and 11 markers in their farewell performance this conference.

The Tornadoes also ruled the attack zone, 40-34, and displayed better defense at the net, 8-0, and the service box, 8-2, en route to a podium finish.

“It’s okay. That’s volleyball; some time you win, some time you lose,” said Branislav, the Serbian mentor who led Foton to the gold medal last year.

“For my opinion, there are three good teams in this league; F2 Logistics, Petron and Foton. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and coming up with a podium finish is good than having nothing at all.”

Like Foton, it was also a good performance for the Asset Managers.

They made their PSL debut in the Invitational Conference where they finished seventh before moving up the ladder with a fifth-place finish in the All-Filipino Conference.

Cocolife may have failed to win any medal, but a fourth-place performance is already an achievement for a young and emerging squad.
But still, the night belonged to the Blaze Spikers.

Stalzer, the Most Valuable Player in 2015, nailed 15 kills and three blocks for 20 points while Hurley also tallied 20 points for the Blaze Spikers who had a near-flawless performance with only nine errors all throughout the one hour and 23 minutes of action.

“Everything went on according to plan,” said Head coach Shaq Delos Santos, the guru behind Petron’s march to the All-Filipino Conference title.

“We executed our game plan to perfection and everybody worked hard for this victory. We managed to hit our service targets and had defensive good reaction to their set plays. It was a good game.”

True enough, the Cargo Movers appeared stiff and shaky at the defensive end.

Nothing was going right for star libero Dawn Macandili, prompting F2 Logistics head coach Ramil de Jesus to dig deep into his bench for much-needed spark.

“Our gameplan was very effective,” Delos Santos added. “We were able to take them out of their comfort zone.”

Venezuelan Maria Jose Perez was the lone bright spot with 15 kills for the Cargo Movers, who are expected to troop back to the drawing board in quest of their first-ever Grand Prix title.