MALOLOS, Bulacan — Defending champion F2 Logistics shut down Cignal, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-21, to seal a showdown with old rival Petron in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Finals on Tuesday night.
Kalei Mau nailed the killer blows that shattered the finals dream of the HD Spikers at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center, leading the Cargo Movers to their second straight appearance in the Invitational finals.
This will mark the seventh time that F2 Logistics and Petron will clash in a league finals, but this time it will be a winner-take-all match set on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Cargo Movers continued to assert their mastery of the HD Spikers since their All-Filipino Finals sweep, with Filipina-American superstar Mau again doing the damage with 23 points laced with 24 digs and six excellent receptions.
Majoy Baron and Kianna Dy chipped jn 12 and 11 points, respectively, while libero Dawn Macandili had 24 digs.
As impressive as Mau was, F2 Logistics coach Ramil De Jesus feels the best is yet to come for the 6-foot-2 spiker, who nailed 21 kills out of 71 attempts while adjusting to setter Kim Fajardo after missing their first five matches due to an Achilles injury.
“Actually medyo nag-struggle yung team kasi yung familiarity ni Kalei at nung setter medyo hirap e. Madaming free ball na hindi namin naco-convert kasi yung miscommunication and yung familiarity ng setting,” said De Jesus.
"Matagal din kasing na-stop si Kalei e, makikita mo na medyo gulat sa bola nawala 'yung ball control, although nakakatapat siya sa bola. Pero andun pa rin naman 'yung hundred percent niya, 'yung leadership."
Mylene Paat led Cignal with 16 attacks and four blocks for 20 points. Jovelyn Gonzaga added 14 points and 26 digs and Alohi Robins-Hardy put up 19 excellent sets and nine markers as skipper Rachel Anne Daquis was held to seven points.
Cignal now faces Foton in the battle for bronze, also on Thursday.