The deadly form that made Petron the most successful club team in the country was in full display when it crushed F2 Logistics, 25-23, 25-12, 25-17, in Game 1 of their Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference best-of-three finals series over the weekend at the Mall of Asia Arena.
But for head coach Shaq Delos Santos, the battle is still far from over.
Delos Santos said celebration is not yet on their minds as they expect a furious fightback from the Cargo Movers in Game 2 of this prestigious women’s club tourney tomorrow at the same venue.
He said F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus is the best in the business in tweaking his game plan so he expects Game 2 to be another thrilling showcase of high-flying attacks, great defense and nail-biting rallies from both sides.
“This is not yet over. A win in Game 1 doesn’t mean anything if we fail to clinch the title. We know they will prepare so we have to be ready,” said Delos Santos, whose wards moved a win shy of sweeping this tourney that is bankrolled by Isuzu, Asics, Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller, UCPB Gen and Bizooku with Genius Sports as technical provider.
Delos Santos sure knows what he’s talking about.
In the Grand Prix last year, the Blaze Spikers hammered a convincing Game 1 win, thanks to the firepower of imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley as well as local stars Frances Molina, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Mika Reyes.
But the Cargo Movers refused to quit.
De Jesus shocked his counterpart when he pulled veteran Cha Cruz from the bench to serve as the starting spiker while moving American Kennedy Bryan back to her original position at the opposite spot.
The gamble paid a handsome reward when the Cargo Movers crawled back from a 0-2 set all the way to a masterful Game 2 victory.
Then, they went for the kill in Game 3 to formally clinch the title of this highly competitive tourney that also has ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.
Delos Santos stressed that de Jesus – an 11-time champion coach for De La Salle University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines who also has three crowns in the PSL – won’t simply give up.
“We know how coach Ramil operates. I’m sure his team won’t just roll over and die. It’s still a very long way to go,” said Delos Santos, who drew firepower from bench player Sisi Rondina and former Far Eastern University stars Bernadeth Pons and Remy Palma in Game 1.
Rondina delivered 12 points while Pons and Palma chipped in 10 and nine hits, respectively, for the Blaze Spikers, who are on the verge of duplicating a golden sweep of the conference they first achieved three years ago.