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Cargo Movers sweep Tornadoes; book finals appearance

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F2 Logistics unleashed another sizzling performance as it crushed Foton, 25-19, 25-18, 25-21, to book a return flight to the finals of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Venezuelan Maria Jose Perez was at her best, delivering crucial hits for the Cargo Movers, who formally wrapped up their best-of-three semifinals series of this prestigious women’s club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.

With the win, the Cargo Movers will have to wait for the winner of the other semifinal pairing between Petron and Cocolife, who are still competing in Game 2 of their own best-of-three semifinal series at press time.

Game 1 of the best-of-three finals of this tourney that also has Senoh, Mikasa, Asics, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors is set on May 1 at the same venue in San Juan.

“The mindset of the players is to defend the title,” said F2 Logistics coach Arnold Laniog, adding that her players are slowly gaining the same chemistry and confidence that gave them their first Grand Prix crown last year.

“Our chemistry is improving and our connection is getting better. We know that we have a shallow bench. So this kind of improvement can definitely help us where we want to be.

Perez, the reigning Most Valuable Player, tallied 19 kills for a game-high 21 points while American Kennedy Bryan chipped in 10 markers for F2 Logistics, which drew impressive performance from local stars Aby Marano, Cha Cruz and Kim Fajardo.

Marano and Cruz delivered eight markers apiece while Fajardo did a marvelous job calling the plays with 28 excellent sets.

“Kim had a great game tonight,” said Laniog, whose wards played a near-flawless game with only 11 errors and 43 attacks.

“We know that Foton are taller and more aggressive at the net. But Kim did a good job calling the plays to keep the defense guessing. Her good playmaking opened things up for MJ (Perez), Cha and Aby at the attack zone.”

With Fajardo setting the table, the Cargo Movers coasted opened the third set with a 15-10 advantage.

Import Channon Thompson and Jaja Santiago tried to restore order and pulled the Tornadoes closer, 20-22, but Perez delivered a pair of booming attacks from the open position to capture the match point, 24-20.

“We tried to push Thompson and their outside hitters to commit misreceptions,” Laniog said. “When they started to lose their passing and commit reception errors, we knew that we have a chance to win the game.”

Elizabeth Wendel and Thompson finished with 11 and 10 markers while Santiago and Maika Ortiz chipped in nine markers apiece for the Tornadoes, who were relegated to the battle for bronze medal.