Petron seizes 1-0 series lead | Inquirer Sports

Petron seizes 1-0 series lead

/ 05:07 AM December 13, 2017

Petron flaunted the power of its roster and Lindsay Stalzer came up huge during the rare times her team needed it as the Blaze Spikers hammered out a 25-14, 25-21, 25-16 Game 1 victory Tuesday night in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Finals.

Another win in Thursday’s Game 2 would give Petron its second straight conference title as it also drubbed F2 Logistics for the All Filipino crown early in the season.

The Blaze Spikers caught the Cargo Movers by surprise by storming to a 25-14 first-set victory to grab the momentum.

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Hillary Hurley and Lindsay Stalzer were firing from opposite sides, scattering the usually composed Cargo Movers.

“We prepared very hard for this match. I mean, F2 is a great team, solid team,” said Stalzer. “We just prepared really well and we were so focused in this match and that showed tonight.”

Stalzer finished with 20 points, including crucial hits in the second set that defused a strong F2 Logistics stand. Hurley chipped in 19 for the Blaze Spikers, who lost to the Cargo Movers in the elimination round.

Maria Jose Perez had 14 to lead F2.

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The Blaze Spikers zoomed ahead once again in the third, building a 12-7 lead but the Cargo Movers tried to claw back through Aby Marano and Perez and trimmed the deficit to 12-10.

But that was until the Venezuelan committed two of F2 Logistics’ four straight errors that allowed Petron to take control once again at 16-10.

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Meanwhile, ousted champion Foton made sure it got the bronze medal, pulling out all the stops to defeat Cocolife, 25-17, 25-16, 25-17, in the first game.

Jaja Santiago accounted for 17 points, including 10 attacks for the Tornadoes, who dropped a four-set decision to Petron in last Saturday’s semifinals.

“We want to really play hard and get the bronze medal and at least get consolation from our loss in the semifinals,” said the 6-foot-5 Santiago, who had four blocks and three aces.

Coach Moro Branislav also saw the bronze-medal finish in a positive light.

“It’s okay. That’s volleyball, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” said Branislav, the Serbian mentor who led Foton to the championship last year. “I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and coming up with a podium finish is good than having nothing at all.”

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Like Foton, the Asset Managers can draw a lot of positives from this tournament.

They made their PSL debut in the Invitational Conference, where they finished seventh before moving up the ladder with a fifth-place finish in the All-Filipino Conference.

TAGS: Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Finals, Volleyball

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