Cagayan de Oro – After posting a massive win over F2 Logistics, Petron seeks to finish the preliminaries on a high note when it battles dangerous Foton in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference Saturday at the Corpus Christi Gym in this beautiful city.
Action starts at 6 p.m. while the Cargo Movers are tipped to go all out against PLDT Home Fibr in the 4 p.m. encounter of this out-of-town double-header bankrolled by Team Rebel Sports, SOGO, Eurotel, PCSO, Cocolife, UCPB Gen, Mueller, Senoh, Asics, Bizooku and One Sport.
After bowing to the Cargo Movers in the first round, the Blaze Spikers delivered a heck of a performance when they registered a thrilling 26-28, 27-29, 25-19, 25-20, 15-6 victory late Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The win didn’t only come as a revenge for Petron, but it also turned to be its 10th victory in a row, enough to push to the top spot of the team standings with a 12-1 win-loss mark entering its final game of the preliminaries.
A victory by the Blaze Spikers will give them the top spot and a chance to face winless Marinerang Pilipina in a sudden-death quarterfinal showdown.
“The whole team is inspired and we will deliver our best here in Cagayan de Oro City because a lot of volleyball fans are watching,” said Delos Santos, noting that he will bank anew on the dynamic duo of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons as well as veterans Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Rhea Dimaculangan, Ces Molina and Denden Lazaro.
“Hopefully, we can continue our best so the fans will enjoy the game.”
But Foton will not be an easy foe in this spectacle that was made possible by PAGCOR, Pyramid Construction, Skin Rev Aesthetic Clinic, 4K &A Builders and Construction Supply, Mindanao Daily, Business Week, Lim Ket Kai Center, Kagay-anon Restaurant, High Ridge, Dear Manok, Airron Tailoring, Bojacks Seafood Restaurant, Country Village Hotel, Nature Spring, Dunkin Donuts, Virginia Foods, NVM Merchandising, Monde Nissin, PLDT, Panagatan, Dahilayan, IPI Casino Active Alcohol and VIP Hotel.
With the towering Jaja Santiago and Dindin Manabat at the helm, the Tornadoes (7-5) are tipped to fight tooth and nail to capture a victory and steal the third spot from idle Generika-Ayala, which fashions an 8-6 win-loss mark.
“Our last two games are very important. At this point, every victory counts,” said Foton coach Aaron Velez, who will rely on the firepower of Elaine Kasilag, Shaya Adorador and Marian Buitre in containing the Blaze Spikers.
Meanwhile, F2 Logistics, which dropped to 11-1 card at No.2, tries to bounce back against the No.6 PLDT (5-8).
Cargo Movers head coach Ramil De Jesus graciously welcomed their first defeat admitting Petron showed more desire to win, erasing a two-set deficit and mounting a formidable 10-0 start in the fifth set.
“We would rather lose now than losing in the knockout quarterfinals,” De Jesus said. “We have to experience this loss so we can learn our lessons and focus on the things that we can still improve on.”
The Cargo Movers, bannered by Kalei Mau, Aby Marano, Ara Galang, Majoy Baron, Desiree Cheng and Dawn Macandili, had very limited time to rest as they arrived in the City of Golden Friendships on Friday morning together with Petron and PLDT.
Foton was the first team to check-in as it has been here as early as Thursday.
PLDT is fresh from a 25-23, 14-25, 25-15, 25-18 upset win over Generika-Ayala on Thursday and head coach Roger Gorayeb had already accepted their fate.
“We’re locked in at the sixth spot. All I want for my team is to gain confidence because in the quarterfinals, one miss, you die. But if you win, you’ll take a big leap to get to the top four,” said Gorayeb, who will be banking on the troika of Grethcel Soltones, Aiko Urdas and Jerrili Malabanan as well as veteran libero Lizlee Pantone.