With a chance to make franchise history waiting on the horizon, F2 Logistics carved out a cardiac 25-22, 25-19, 17-25, 22-25, 15-12 victory against bitter rival Petron to claim the 2019 Philippine SuperLiga (PSL) Invitationals Cup championship, Thursday at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig.
While it made them the winningest team in the league this year in terms of indoor conference wins, it was also the first successful title defense campaign for the Cargo Movers, who have been dethroned twice in 2017 and 2018.
But with a chance to write new pages in franchise history, Ramil de Jesus and his troops showed character avoiding a complete meltdown to clinch their fifth overall PSL title.
Kalei Mau delivered the goods including the match point-clincher while Kim Dy and Majoy Baron supplied big punches as the now two-time defending champions came back to life in the nail-biting deciding frame.
Mau erupted for 30 big points built on 27 kills and three aces to go with 21 digs as tournament’s 1st Best Middle Blocker and eventual MVP Baron added 15 while Dy had 14.
Aby Maraño came up with 10, contributing five in the team’s total 11 blocks.
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Bernadeth Pons and Sisi Rondina connived for 55 points all on a losing effort as Petron absorbed its first loss of the conference settling for silver.
Despite an error-plagued service game, F2 Logistics was hot from the get-go riding on Mau’s attacks as Kim Fajardo was quick to activate Dy and Ara Galang for a 14-11 advantage.
Squashing a silent start, Petron erased the deficit and take a slim lead, 19-20, before the ladies in yellow regained the driver’s seat down the final ticks capped by Maraño’s set-winning block on Rondina.
Picking up where they left off, the Cargo Movers built a game-high seven-point blitz, 18-11, setting the tone for the second frame.
As the Blaze Spikers racked up three straight points trying to salvage the set, Baron’s three consecutive points extinguished the former’s hopes of a comeback.
With their backs against the wall Maizo-Pontillas and Pons revived Petron in the third, with Maizo-Pontillas lifting the squad towards an 18-17 advantage before Pons took charge in the latter part of the set.
Maizo-Pontillas and Pons continued their heroics for the Blaze Spikers in the fourth. The Cargo Movers then caught up and knotted the score at 22, but the opposite hitter had other things in mind as she unloaded two consecutive kills en route to forging a rubber set.
While it was a close battle in attacks (65-68) and aces (6-5), F2 Logistics’ main weapon was its net defense as it produced seven more kill blocks as opposed to Petron’s four.
(Image from Facebook/F2 Logistics)