PETRON coach Shaq delos Santos remained proud of his Blaze Spikers despite the Game One collapse at the helm of rivals F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference Finals.
The Blaze Spikers squandered a 2-1 set lead and surrendered the last two points to the Cargo Movers losing in five sets, 25-18, 23-25, 25-20, 27-29, 16-18, on Thursday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Petron managed to recover from a 13-10 deficit in the fifth set and tie it to 14-all but Majoy Baron hit the runner that sent the Cargo Movers to match point and game-winning service ace to steal the series opener.
“Actually ‘yung ano lang, ‘yung pattern ng depensa namin, medyo nag-collapse din and sa momentum nga, napunta rin sa kanila. Alam naman namin na ganun talaga sila maglaro. So kami siguro yung nagkulang dun,” said Delos Santos after the loss.
Despite falling on the brink of losing the Finals series, Delos Santos still wants his wards to remain proud of their performance, like Aiza Maizo-Pontillas who flaunted her vintage form, Ces Molina playing like a warrior despite a stress fracture on her shin, while Mika Reyes, Bernadeth Pons and Sisi Rondina were also tremendous in scoring.
“For me, para sa amin, proud pa rin ako sa team ko kasi siyempre alam naman namin yung quality ng laro ng kalaban namin and binigay pa rin namin yung best namin,” he said. “Sabi ko nga di tayo kailangan lumabas na nakatungo diyan kasi wala tayong dapat ikahiya dahil sa ganda ng nilaro ng both teams, I’m sure marami tayong napasayang tao.“
Now with their backs against the wall, the Petron coach wants the Blaze Spikers to brace for the all-important Game Two on Saturday, 5 p.m., at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“So for us, kailangan naming tanggapin kung ano yung nangyari para mas maging mature kami and makapag-ready para sa susunod naming game,” he said.
In their four head-to-head finals matchups with F2 Logistics, this was Petron’s first time to lose the series opener.
But Delos Santos is accepting the challenge of coming back, force a rubber match next week and revive their chances for the franchise’s first Invitational title and fifth overall championship in the PSL.
“I think magandang experience para sa amin ‘yung ganung bagay kasi siyempre not all the time mae-experience mo ‘yung ganun,” he said. “Siguro ngayon ibang usapan na rin kasi ‘yun. Tapos na rin ‘yung championship na napaglabanan namin before. I think ngayon mas kailangan naming mag-prepare kung anong meron kaming opportunity, ‘yun ‘yung better na i-grab namin this time.”
And just like their past four finals series and the first game of the Invitaional Finals, the Blaze Spikers are anticipating another classic match with the Cargo Movers.
“Definitely hindi na basta magiging easy game. Talagang mag-all out. I think ‘yung puso, ‘yung pride, saka yung eagerness mo na manalo, ‘yun ‘yung pag-uusapan,” Delos Santos said.