F2 Logistics prevented a meltdown by denying Cignal‘s huge comeback, 25-22, 26-24, 18-25, 17-25, 15-8, to take Game 1 of their best-of-three Finals series of the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference on Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The well-rested Cargo Movers dodged a bullet from the HD Spikers, who erased a two-set deficit, as they got their acts together when it mattered most in the fifth set and refused to be the latest victims of Cignal’s upset.
After flirting with disaster, the Cargo Movers caught fire and unleashed a balanced attack in the fifth set with Kalei Mau building a 9-4 spread from her attack and ace.
Attacks from Ara galang and Desiree Cheng followed by Paat’s back-to-back errors gave the Cargo Movers a 13-6 breather.
Cheng put the team at set point, 14-7 before a game-winning block from Majoy Baron to lift F2 Logistics a win shy of claiming the All-Filipino title and send Cignal crashing back to earth.
F2 Logistics has a chance to end its three-year All-Filipino championship drought in Game 2 on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Nireremind ko lang sila na sabi ko forget the first set until the fourth set. Nung fifth set, sa set na to i-raise na lahat,” said F2 Logistics head coach Ramil De Jesus, who is a win closer from his elusive fourth PSL title. “Kagandahan lang samin napunta yung breaks sa fifth set.”
Mau erupted with 27 points on her first PSL Finals appearance. Galang and Baron had 11 points each, while Kianna Dy added four blocks for nine markers.
Kim Fajardo was also instrumental with 17 excellent receptions on top of 21 digs and four markers as well as Dawn Macandili protecting the floor with 33 digs.
Rachel Anne Daquis struggled with five points and only played in the first two sets and late in the fifth set as she felt pain on her leg.
But Janine Navarro stepped up for her with team-high 16 points to help Jovelyn Gonzaga, who had 12 points and 33 digs. Paat and Roselyn Doria had nine markers each, while Jheck had 41 digs and 18 excellent receptions.
Alohi Robins-Hardy sparked the comeback with 17 excellent sets and 11 points only for the HD Spikers to fall short and need to win twice again to steal the title.