PVL: Kurashiki eliminates F2 Logistics from title race, nears Finals stint
MANILA, Philippines — The Kurashiki Ablaze ousted the undermanned F2 Logistics from championship contention, 25-20, 25-22, 25-20, inching closer to the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference final on Tuesday at Philsports Arena.
Asaka Tamaru, once again, showed the way for the Ablaze with 19 points as they remained unbeaten in the semifinals round with a 3-0 record, a win away from forging a winner-take-all final duel with the Creamline Cool Smashers (4-0).
The third win of the Japanese Division 3 club also ended the final hopes of Cignal (1-3) and Vietnam’s Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh (0-3). The three clubs including F2 Logistics, which also dropped to 1-3, can still fight for the No.3 and 4 seeds for the battle for bronze.
PLDT, which has a 2-2 record, is still in contention and it battles for dear life against Kurashiki on Thursday at 4 p.m.
The Ablaze pounced on the depleted Cargo Movers, who missed Kianna Dy for the second straight game due to a right knee injury and Jolina Dela Cruz sitting out. Akane Hiraoka was hailed as the player of the game with nine points off six attacks, two aces, and a block.
“We are the smaller team so we needed to find a way to avoid their blocks. This game, we somehow found a way,” said Akane through an interpreter after surviving F2 Logistics’ 11 blocks led by Majoy Baron’s five.
Setter Kyoka Ohshima paced the Japanese with 15 excellent sets as Saya Taniguchi, Kokoro Takio, and Yukino Yano added seven markers each.
Kurashiki coach Hideo Suzuki lauded the Cargo Movers for their quick plays and the atmosphere, playing in front of 3,435 fans.
“F2 has tall and quick players and they have a lot of fans. They had a lot of chances to beat us. They played well,” said coach Hideo.
F2 Logistics remained winless in the semis round and will try to boost its chance for the battle for bronze against Vietnam’s Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh on Friday.
Myla Pablo and Baron led the Cargo Movers with 12 points, while Ara Galang also stepped up as a starter with seven markers, seven excellent receptions, and five digs.
Kurashiki Ablaze coach Hideo Suzuki and Akane Hiraoka after beating F2 Logistics. #PVL2023
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Tuesday, July 25, 2023