MANILA, Philippines – A tournament sweep was not in the cards for Petron as the Blaze Spikers bowed to F2 Logistics in four sets in Game 2 of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference Finals last Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blaze Spikers were 13-0 heading into the contest, and could have repeated their feat in the 2015 All-Filipino, when they swept the conference.
The Cargo Movers had other ideas, however, as they claimed a four-set victory in Game 2 to send the series to a deciding Game 3, set for Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Despite the setback, the Blaze Spikers are still staying positive, assured head coach Shaq delos Santos.
"Wala naman kaming kailangan ikahiya doon sa nangyari. Part kasi 'yun ng game," he explained. "Napakagandang challenge sa amin 'to so accept lang kami. Sabi nga namin na tie 'yung laban, hindi naman sila ahead."
The Blaze Spikers actually drew first blood, taking the first set 25-21. But they faltered the rest of the way, and had no answer for the clever attacks of Ara Galang and the all-around brilliance of Cha Cruz-Behag.
Ces Molina and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas both had fast starts, but tapered off against the Cargo Movers' net defense. Sisi Rondina, again coming off the bench, failed to provide the same spark that she brought to Petron's 3-set win in Game 1.
"Medyo struggle kami," delos Santos acknowledged. "I think hindi para sa amin 'yung game. Lumabas din 'yung willingness ng F2 na manalo. Knowing them, talagang alam naman na babawi sila."
"Kailangan ganoon din kami. Alam ko naman na ganoon 'yung team namin. Hindi lang talaga para sa amin 'yung game kanina," he added.
Delos Santos said that come Game 3, the Blaze Spikers need to show the same sense of urgency that F2 Logistics did on Tuesday.
"Mate-test talaga 'yung team namin sa Game 3, kung nasaan kami," he said.
"Siyempre, hindi naman ibig sabihin na naka-sweep kami na okay na. Wake-up call sa amin 'to na kailangan pa namin mag-improve," he added.
"Hindi kami pwedeng dumating sa Game 3 na relaxed in a way na normal lang 'yung ilalaro. Dapat kaya naming ilabas 'yung dapat namin ilabas," he stressed.
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