The F2 Logistics Cargo Movers booked the first ticket to the semifinals of the 2017 PSL Chooks-to-Go Grand Prix as they cruised through the Iriga City Oragons, 25-19, 25-12, 25-17, on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
“Nung last week lang kalaban lang namin sila so parang uulitin mo lang yung ginawa mo dahil alam ko naman kulang talaga yung Iriga. Nag-build lang ng konting confidence going to the semis,” F2 head coach Ramil de Jesus said about the victory.
Imports Kennedy Bryan and Maria Perez top-scored for the Cargo Movers with 14 and 12 points respectively. Kim Kianna Dy added nine points.
The eighth-seeded Oragons shot themselves in the foot with their 27 errors throughout the match. Tamara Kmezic as usual carried the squad on her shoulders with her 13 attacks and two service aces, but the Cargo Movers were simply too strong for the undermanned Iriga.
F2 Logistics will face the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between the Cignal HD Spikers and Cocolife Asset Managers on Thursday.
“Di naman pwedeng balewalain yung dalawang team na yun kahit na nadaanan namin nung elimination. Pero ibang usapan itong ganitong semis na eh,” De Jesus said about their would-be opponents. “Malaking adjustment na yung ginawa ng bawat team, so hindi namin alam kung anong adjustment ginawa nila.
Heading into the next round, the F2 mentor thinks they already resolved their previous issue of miscommunication between their imports and setter Kim Fajardo. “Madalas naliligaw yung import sa mga play na binibigay ni Kim. Ngayon medyo nale-lessen na eh. Di ko na nakikita masyado yung ganun.”
De Jesus is hoping that their improved team chemistry and familiarity with one another would work to their advantage as they continue their quest for the Grand Prix title.
In the second game, the Petron Blaze Spikers survived the hard-fighting Generika Ayala Lifesavers in a thrilling five-setter, 19-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 15-11, to advance to the semifinals.
Behind Darlene Ramdin, the Lifesavers threatened to topple the second-seeded team. The import from Trinidad and Tobago almost led her team to an upset victory with her 35 points (33 kills, one block, one ace) but Petron did just enough in the endgame to save their campaign.
Coach Shaq delos Santos admitted that they did not play their usual game in this tightly-contested match. “Para kaming dumaan sa butas ng karayom. Honestly speaking, hindi talaga yun yung laro namin,” said the very relieved mentor.
He added, “Medyo stiff kami. Yung kilos namin, hindi namin nailabas nang todo-todo. Good thing nanalo pa rin.”
A Mika Reyes block allowed the Blaze Spikers to pull away, 12-9, in the deciding fifth set. Generika managed to inch within one before the tandem of Hillary Hurley and Lindsay Stalzer finished it off for Petron with powerful hits.
Generika sizzled at the start of the contest, taking the first set and catching their opponents off guard. They once again came out strong in the second set but the Blaze Spikers rallied back. From being down 16-14, Petron dropped four unanswered points to begin their comeback. The Lifesavers tried to recover but the Blaze Spikers eventually managed to knot the game at one set apiece.
Just when Petron seemed to have found their groove, the Lifesavers surprised again as they owned the third period. The Blaze Spikers unleashed a 3-to-nothing blitz late to inch within one, 22-21. Generika, however, responded with back-to-back points then Ramdin successfully closed the set out.
Petron finally asserted their dominance in the fourth and carried their momentum over to the final period.
Stalzer finished with 27 points off 24 attacks and three blocks, while Hurley produced 21 points. Reyes contributed six kills, four blocks, and three service aces for 13 points.
The knockout semifinals will be played on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.