PVL: F2 Logistics rallies back to hand Creamline its first loss
MANILA, Philippines — In the first-ever duel of the two fan-favorites and most successful clubs, F2 Logistics got the better of Creamline, pulling off a 22-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 15-11 comeback win to boost its semifinal chances in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Tuesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
American spiker Lindsay Stalzer and Kianna Dy rose to the occasion to lift the Cargo Movers from two sets down while other unsung heroes also emerged with Shola Alvarez nailing a clutch ace for a 13-10 lead in the fifth set and Elaine Kasilag delivering the match-clinching kill that handed the Cool Smashers’ first loss in six matches.
Stalzer erupted with 27 points off 22 kills, three aces, and two blocks, while Dy led F2 Logistics’ block party, hitting six of their 14 blocks to finish with 18 points to extend their winning run to three matches for a 3-2 record.
Dy also displayed flashes of her Season 78 Finals MVP, giving Alyssa Valdez a rude welcome in her first game back at the Big Dome since Ateneo lost to La Salle in Finals Game 3 in 2016.
Kalei Mau also shone with 11 points and 14 excellent receptions. Aby Marano also scored 11. Ivy Lacsina had three blocks to finish with eight markers, while setter Kim Fajardo made 24 excellent sets and fired four service aces as the Cargo Movers drilled 14 aces against the top receiving team of the conference.
“We have a good time preparing for Creamline but we started differently. Of course maybe the crowd, and the energy. Everyone’s so excited, all the players on both sides, they are giving the show, hitting, hitting, hitting, hitting! Exchanging strong spikes. But we changed our plan. Our service worked as the match went by,” said F2 Logistics coach Benson Bocboc.
“We committed a lot of errors but we got the points that we need for the break to get those wins every set and then eventually in the end game,” he added after his team overcame 30 errors.
The Cargo Movers shrugged off a two-week hiatus after their last match against PLDT on October 25 and dug deep from a 0-2 deficit and got their act together in the last three sets. They pulled away in the fifth set as the back-to-back hits of Dy and Marano connected to Alvarez’s ace for a 13-10 advantage.
Alvarez committed a service error on her next attempt but Stalzer came to the rescue, pushing F2 Logistics at match point, 14-10. Iris Tolenada missed her service on the next play before Kasilag nailed the dagger to end a two-hour and 31-minute match.
Although only 8,468 fans watched their much-anticipated duel, which the volleyball community has been clamoring for since F2 Logistics was still dominating in the Philippine Superliga before it transferred to the PVL last year but didn’t join due to injuries.
It was a long overdue clash as both teams were not in the same group in the 2022 Open Conference, where the Cool Smashers swept the tournament, while the Cargo Movers lost in the quarterfinals. F2 Logistics didn’t join in the Invitationals due to injuries.
Bocboc was glad that they got the win in their highly-awaited showdown.
“In the fourth and fifth sets, everything is going to place then all effort, pushing, all the defense and blocking and everything is going there. That’s why we got the win. Everyone in the team helped even the bench, the players from the bench helped a lot in defending the balls of Creamline,” he said.
Creamline’s five-game winning streak was halted after failing to close out its two-set lead. But the winningest PVL club is still assured of a semifinal berth with joint leader Chery Tiggo (5-1).
Yeliz Basa led Creamline with 19 points. Alyssa Valdez had 12 points and 16 digs. Jema Galanza also scored 12 and had 13 receptions, while Celine Domingo added 11 markers.
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