BERNADETH Pons is ready to rise to the occasion as Petron seeks to defend its Philippine Superliga All-Filipino crown against F2 Logistics in thier fifth straight finals matchup.
With the top two club teams in the country splitting the last four PSL championships - the latest won by the Cargo Movers, Pons insisted that the Blaze Spikers will not have to lick their wounds from the Invitational Finals setback last August and just continue to be well-motivated as they eye a golden repeat in the All-Filipino Conference
“Hindi na. Bagong season na, All-Filipino na. Kailangan na namin mag-move on. Motivated kami na makabawi pa rin and ma-defend 'yung crown namin,” said Pons, who fueled Petron with 14 points including nine excellent receptions for a 25-21, 25-20, 25-16 sweep of semifinals foe Cignal on Tuesday at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.
“Nakakatuwa kasi nailalabas namin kung ano talaga 'yung laro namin. Pinaghirapan namin para makarating kami dito,” she said.
After sweeping the 10-game preliminary round and dispatching Sta. Lucia and Cignal in the quarterfinals and semifinals, Petron is oozing with confidence and riding the momentum heading into the best-of-three titular series with F2 Logistics, which begins on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
So what has been the key to their full-tank performance and unbeaten run?
Pons said that everyone from the team with the guidance of head coach Shaq delos Santos is not stopping to strive hard and not closing their doors for improvement even though they were showing little signs of weakness in all of their matches.
“Sobrang pinapatibay lang namin 'yung composure namin in and out the court,” she said. “Nawawala kami minsan doon pero si coach (Shaq) kasi gusto niya relaxed lang kami sa court para di kami ma-rattle. More on bonding din talaga kami kasi kailangan namin 'yung tibay na 'yun internally.”
But even though they will be facing F2 Logistics for the fifth straight time, Pons said that she and the Blaze Spikers should be ready for head coach Ramil de Jesus and the Cargo Movers, who are expected to pull off surprises.
“Yung F2 kasi pag-aaralan kami noon sigurado. May gagawain silang iba and kami din may ibang gagawin,” she said. “So yung labanan na lang is mental toughness and heart. Bawat puntos sigurado kailangan naming paghirapan.”