F2 Logistics ended Petron’s 17-game winning streak and drew the first blood in their best-of-three Finals series, 25-20, 16-25, 25-23, 25-23, on Tuesday to inch a win away from earning the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix title at the Arena in San Juan City.
Tagged as underdogs in the series against an unbeaten defending champion, the Cargo Movers handed the Blaze Spikers’ first loss and went on the brink of dethroning their rivals in their sixth straight Finals series.
F2 Logistics import MJ Perez and Lindsay Stalzer delivered the huge blows that made Petron invincible no more as they are a win close from regaining the Grand Prix title in Game 2 on Thursday.
Perez, who came late in the second round and faced Petron for the first time this season, nailed the match-winning spike and finished with 24 points off 23 kills laced up with 11 excellent receptions.
Stalzer, the Blaze Spikers former import for the past two years, put her ex-team on the brink of elimination putting up 21 points including 17 digs.
"Relaxed kasi 'yung mga players ko. Sabi ko naman na nothing to lose kasi, ever since, alam naman nating malakas 'yung Petron," F2 Logistics head coach Ramil De Jesus said. “Tutal, animan lang naman diyan sa loob. Ang maganda kasi gusto ng imports namin manalo. Sila 'yung kailangang bumuhat sa team and pinakita namin."
"'Yung big question sa team na 'Kaya ba natin to?', ngayon, kaya na namin,” he added.
Majoy Baron and Aby Marano were also instrumental manning the net defense of the Cargo Movers, who made six of their 10 kills blocks in the fourth set.
Marano and Baron finished with nine and seven points, respectively. Libero Dawn Macandili protected the floor with 21 digs and 13 excellent receptions, while setter Alex Cabanos made 22 excellent sets.
After both teams split the first two sets, the Cargo Movers built huge leads in the third and fourth frame but Katherine Bell and Stephanie Niemer carried the Blaze Spikers to force a neck-and-neck battle.
F2 Logistics squandered a 19-12 spread in the third set as Bell towed her team closer before a double violation on Cabanos to tie the frame, 23-all, but Stalzer came to the rescue hitting back-to-back attacks to take a 2-1 match advantage.
The Cargo Movers also blew a 17-13 lead in the fourth set as Bell and Niemer made it a one-point game, 21-20, before Stalzer stopped the bleeding and Perez nailed three of the last six points to pull off an upset.
Bell lifted Petron with 30 points off 26 kills, a pair of blocks and as many as aces including 13 digs. Niemer had 20 points, while Mika Reyes and Remy Palma added seven markers each in a losing cause.