PETRON continued to miss on the Philippine Superliga Invitationals championship as it sustained another heartbreaker even in the shortened tournament.
In the franchise’s six indoor volleyball crowns, three were from Grand Prix and as many as All-Filipino titles, excluding three Beach Volleyball Cup championships, as the Invitationals crown remained elusive for Petron after falling to F2 Logistics, 22-25, 19-25, 25-17, 25-22, 12-15, on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“For us, hindi okay pero much better kung i-accept namin yung nangyari. Kasi mas dun naming mafifeel kung gaano na kami kamature,” said Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos. “Lagi namang may time para makarecover ulit so di kami magstop para sa team namin.“
Fueled by the troika of Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons, Petron fought its way back from a two-set deficit only for F2 Logistics to catch fire in the fifth set and got the lucky breaks of the endgame.
Delos Santos stressed that his national team player, Kalei Mau, spelled the difference in their seventh Finals match-up against F2 Logistics.
“Knowing naman F2, strong team sila especially nakabalik na rin si Kalei. Napakalaking factor para sa kanila. Nagkaroon lang ng lapses yung team,” he said of Mau, who sat out during their campaign-opener win over F2 Logistics last Sept. 28.
Despite missing injured Mika Reyes and Rhea Dimaculangan seeing limited action, the Blaze Spikers still swept their way to the Finals, winning all their six elimination games and Foton in the knockout semifinals, only to lose the match that mattered most.
Unlike last year’s success when they won two out of three conferences, Petron only won in the Grand Prix led by super imports Kath Bell and Stephanie Niemer, settled for bronze medal in the All-Filipino as it blew a twice-to-beat edge in the semifinals to Cignal, before ending the season with a heartbreaker to F2 Logistics.
“For us, siguro, medyo shaky kasi yung naging experience ngayong 2019,” Delos Santos said.
It wasn’t the result they wanted but Delos Santos is still proud of his wards as he promises to bounce back next PSL season.
“Solid pa rin yung team. Kahit paano, nakakuha kami championship. Kailangan pag-aralan namain mabuti at improve pa yung team namin,” he said.
But for now, Delos Santos has no time to grieve on their loss as he shifts his focus to the women’s national team’s Japan training camp on Sunday before joining the PSL Super Cup in November and campaign in the 30th Southeast Asian Games from Nov. 28- December 11.