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Petron, F2 book 6th straight finals duel


Games Tuesday:
(Filoil Flying V Centre)

4:15 p.m. – Cignal vs PLDT
7:00 p.m. – Petron vs F2 Logistics

Complacency will be the last thing on Petron’s mind when it renews its rivalry with F2 Logistics in the finals the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Blaze Spikers coach Shaq Delos Santos admitted that Cignal gave them a scare in the semifinals, prompting them to check their confidence level entering into Game 1 of their best-of-three finals series in this prestigious women’s club league that has ESPN5 and 5Plus as official broadcast partners.

The HD Spikers played their hearts out in the semifinal series of this tourney bankrolled by Asics, Mueller, Mikasa, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Cocolife, Hotel Sogo and Data Project.

They marched into Game 1 with fire in their eyes before yielding a 25-20, 14-25, 13-25, 18-25 decision.

Then, Rachel Anne Daquis and import Erica Wilson buckled down to work early until Stephanie Niemer asserted her dominance, giving the Blaze Spikers a 23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-21 win in Game 2 to book their sixth straight final duel with the Cargo Movers.

Delos Santos said the will surely have a hard time beating the hungry F2 Logistics if they will be careless and over-confident.

“All I can say is that Cignal was really eager to beat us,” said Delos Santos, admitting that posting 17 consecutive wins had given them a false sense of complacency.

“I always feel that we are complacent. But I always remind the team that Cignal managed to push us to the brink in our two semifinal matches, so definitely F2 Logistics will come out firing as well. Hopefully, that experience will serve as a learning curve for all of us.”

True enough, beating the Cargo Movers will not be easy.

After blowing hot and cold in the quarterfinals and semifinals, F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus lit a fire under his wards, especially setter Alex Cabanos, who is filling in for national team mainstay Kim Fajardo.

De Jesus’ motivational words were effective as the Cargo Movers dominated PLDT Home Fibr, 26-24, 26-24, 25-17 in Game 2 of their own best-of-three semis series.

“For me, this is the toughest road going to the finals. We lost so many players so making it here is already a major achievement,” said de Jesus, who is no stranger to winning after racking up 11 titles for De La Salle University in the University Athletic Association of the Philipines.

“But we will still go all out against Petron. The finals is anybody’s ballgame and whoever wants it more will surely emerge victorious.”

With Fajardo out for the conference due to finger injury, de Jesus said local players Aby Marano, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili have to work doubly hard to support imports Lindsay Stalzer and Maria Jose Perez as well as contain the firepower of Petron reinforcements Kat Bell and Stephanie Niemer.