Petron laid to rest the ghost of a painful defeat with a gutsy stand when it mattered the most.
Refusing to wilt under pressure from a determined foe, Petron hammered out a 25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18 victory over F2 Logistics Saturday to bag the Chooks To Go-PSL Grand Prix crown at Smart Araneta Coliseum, ensuring no repeat of the fall that was always at the back of their minds.
“I felt very scared that it might happen again; that’s the truth,” said Petron coach Shaq delos Santos in Filipino.
“It” was the collapse the Blaze Spikers suffered in last season’s edition of this tournament, where they came to within a whiff of the crown only to crumble amid a gutsy rally by the Cargo Movers.
Although F2 Logistics tried to repeat that dramatic rally, Petron would have none of it this time around.
“We had a serious talk with the coaches and players; we had a little vow to each other and in the end it’s fate,” added delos Santos.
Petron captured its fourth title in the league as imports Katherine Bell and Lindsay Stalzer came out firing from the start. But more importantly, the Blaze Spikers regained the upper hand in their budding rivalry with the Cargo Movers, which has been raging the past three straight conferences.
The Cargo Movers came alive after falling behind by two sets, but Bell, Stalzer and the rest of the Blaze Spikers started hard in the fourth set to set the tone for the title-clincher.
“We had a great series. There were some rough times but it was a fun, fun finals,” said Bell, who finished with 28 points.
Stalzer wound up winning the conference MVP trophy.
“Tonight I don’t feel like I deserve it, my team deserves that honor,” said Stalzer, who fired 24 points.
Remy Palma added 10 points for Petron.