By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter
FAMILIAR foes Petron Blaze Spikers and F2 Logistics Cargo Movers get tangle again as they dispute the 2018 Philippine SuperLiga (PSL) All-Filipino crown beginning this weekend.
A best-of-three affair, the All-Filipino finals tiff, with Game One set for Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena at 6 p.m., marks the fifth straight time that Petron and F2 Logistics are meeting in the championship of the PSL.
The two have split their four previous encounters in the finals, making the about-to-start championship joust a tiebreaker in their rivalry.
Defending champion Petron and F2 Logistics dominated the first two rounds of the tournament and continued to lord it over in the playoffs.
The Blaze Spikers completed their return to the championship by defeating the Cignal HD Spikers in straight sets in the semifinals on Tuesday, seeing no need to make use of their twice-to-beat advantage.
The Cargo Movers also did the same, eliminating the Generika-Ayala Life Savers in an exciting five-setter in their own semifinal encounter to set a rematch with Petron.
Meeting in the finals once again, both the Blaze Spikers and Cargo Movers are expecting no less than a competitive matchup with the teams seeking to get the better of the other.
“Our win over Petron depends on the hunger and willingness of my players,” said F2 Logistics head coach Ramil de Jesus in the lead-up to the finals.
“Our battle against them always goes down the wire. It won’t be easy. That’s why we will use the next few days to polish our game and prepare against them,” he added.
For Petron, the lone undefeated team to date in the ongoing tournament, it said it cannot rest and be complacent, especially against a team like F2 Logistics.
“They’re on a roll. We have to do our homework and prepare for them because it’s really hard to stop a squad that is reaching its peak. The finals will be anybody’s ball game,” said Blaze Spikers coach Shaq Delos Santos.
In their lone encounter in the preliminary round of the tournament, Petron topped F2 Logistics in four sets, 22-25, 25-16, 25-16 and 25-20.
Bannering the Blaze Spikers in their repeat bid are Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Rhea Dimaculangan, Ces Molina, Bernadeth Pons, Remy Palma and Sisi Rondina, among others, while the Cargo Movers will be relying on the likes of Cha Behag, Aby Marano, Kim Kianna Dy, Kim Fajardo, Ara Galang, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili.
In last year’s finals, Petron swept F2 Logistics in their best-of-three finals with Ms. Maizo-Pontillas winning most valuable player in the championship.