F2 Logistics unclasped itself from a heated duel of power, blocks, quick attacks, digs and all that matters for the bronze with PLDT, coming through with a telling run in the fourth set and essaying a 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-15 victory in the Premier Volleyball League All Filipino Conference at the packed SM Mall of Asia Arena last night.
Aby Maraño, doing what she does best, swung to her strong side and unleashed her signature running attack off a reverse set by Iris Tolenado, the ball hitting Mich Morente’s arms and away from the reach of any PLDT player as the former La Salle standout finished off the High Speed Hitters then posed like an archer to the delight of the huge Tuesday crowd.
Kim Dy came away with 19 points, Ara Galang stepped up to fire 14 hits, and Maraño, who helped anchor their 20-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-17 victory in Game One of their best-of-three series to clinch the best player of game trophy, backed them up with 11 points.
Majoy Baron and Myla Pablo also combined for 14 markers but it was playmaker Kim Fajardo who stood out in Game 2, producing 11 points that included five attacks, four blocks and two aces on top of 24 excellent sets.
“First time kami na nandito, so our mindset is to get it,” said Fajardo, also a former La Salle stalwart, who earned the game’s top honors while powering the team to the franchise’s best showing in its two-year stint in the country’s premier league organized by Sports Vision.
Like in their series’ opener win last Sunday, the Cargo Movers had to rebound from a set down before winning the next three. This time, however, both teams had to scramble and fight for every hit and point that made their clash for third place look like a championship battle.
The Cargo Movers, however, came out of the scuffle on top, flashing superb staying power to outlast the High Speed Hitters, who practically lost steam midway in the fourth.
After seizing control in a back-and-forth first three sets, 2-1, F2 Logistics started out strong in the fourth, 5-1, only to yield the next four points, leading to another standoff that somehow hinted at another spirited duel to the finish.
But it never happened as the Cargo Movers rode on a dizzying 10-1 run to break away from a tight 10-9 count and post a 20-10 bulge on a combo of hits from Pablo and Dy and blocks from Baron and Dy and aided by two PLDT errors.
The High Speed Hitters never recovered from that big F2 Logistics assault as Pablo and Dy sustained their firepower before Maraño clinched the medal for the Cargo Movers with her patented hit.
It was a sorry setback for the High Speed Hitters, who came into the match keen on forcing a decider after winning the first set. They dropped the next two that could’ve gone either way but just couldn’t halt the Cargo Movers’ breakaway run in the fourth.
Dell Palomats likewise failed to re-assert herself in the middle after a sterling performance in the first three sets, finishing with 16 points, Mean Mendrez posted a 14-point effort after seeing action for just a couple of minutes in Game One, while Jovie Prado’s solid 13-point, 22-dig, 14-reception game went down the drain.