Still the champs
Petron finally wrapped up the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix title that has had its name on it all conference long.
Encountering a stubborn stand by F2 Logistics, Petron scored a 26-24, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19 victory Saturday night at Filoil Flying V Centre for its sixth conference title, the most by any team in the six-year-old league.
The Blaze Spikers didn’t only successfully defend their title, they also highlighted it by winning 19 of the 20 matches they played overall, losing only in Game 1 of the title series to the Cargo Movers.
Petron won 17 straight games to get to the title series, drawing parallelism to the franchise’s 2015 team that won the All-Filipino Cup via a 14-game sweep.
“I can’t even believe it. This feels surreal,” said Petron import Stephanie Niemer, who dropped 31 points for her first PSL title.
“I mean, we dropped the first game and in the second we gave it our all. Now in game 3 we gave it even more,” added Niemer.
She had hinted retirement after her stint here, but quickly said “never say never” at the post-game interview.
Her fellow reinforcement, Khat Bell, said: “No, she’s not retiring. We’re coming back next year.”
Bell added 16 points in winning her second straight title for the Blaze Spikers.
But the imports got a lot help from local middle blocker Remy Palma, who dished out 14 points, including timely hits in the fourth set.
“We are very happy with the outcome, this is all the fruit of our hard work,” said Petron coach Shaq delos Santos in Filipino. “We had a great chemistry in the team and everyone wanted to win the title.”
Petron looked on its way to a three-set win until F2, buoyed by an equally explosive pair of imports, clawed back to take the topsy-turvy third frame.
Maria Jose Perez scored 27 points, while Lindsay Stalzer had 18 for the Cargo Movers.
PLDT wound up third, while Cignal was fourth place.
Meanwhile, the league will welcome a ninth member in Marinerang Pilipina when the All-Filipino Conference opens.