A tale of two Christmas title runs
We depart from focusing on “one game at a time” to take note of two championship battles happening this December.
In the Chooks to Go Philippine Superliga All-Filipino volleyball finals, Petron was simply lethal in shutting out F2 Logistics in straight sets in the first game of the best-of-three on Saturday. After a close first set which the Lady Blazers won 25-23, Petron took the sting out of the Cargo Movers in the next two frames, 25-11 and 25-17.
For Game 2 on Tuesday, F2 needs to come up with better energy and a stronger defensive stance against the confident Lady Blazers. The Cargo Movers have championship pedigree and need to recall that confidence and swagger to stay in contention.
Petron’s arsenal is so well-stocked that only a solid defensive effort will be able to stop them. As expected, Mika Reyes, Remy Palma, Sisi Rondina, Aiza Pontillas and Bernadette Pons provide multiple options and can strike from anywhere across the net.
Unless that F2 defense comes along, Petron looks ready to celebrate a 14-game unbeaten run in this conference, with the title as the Christmas topping.
In the Philippine Basketball Association, the unpredictable has again reared its head with a series that started out as a possible romp now being transformed into another cardiac finish.
After taking the first two games in the finals and enjoying a strong personnel edge, Magnolia got ripped apart by Alaska in Game 3 and lost out in the end in Game 4 to find the series tied at two wins apiece.
In Game 5, Paul Lee’s end-game heroics proved to be the Aces undoing as they could not get key possessions and baskets.
And when the series resumes on Wednesday after the break because of the PBA Rookie Draft, the Hotshots enter Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead and a possible shot at a Christmas title. Alaska needs another comeback to equalize and force a seventh game.
In both tournaments, we can expect the drive for titles to reach fever pitch. Christmas titles are extra special because parties of the winning teams will be more festive with a lot to talk about and raise glasses to.