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F2 clobbers Smart, gains 1st semis slot

Sanja Trivunovic of Smart vs F2 Logistics defenders

Sanja Trivunovic of Smart vs F2 Logistics defenders

by Jerome Lagunzad

Defending champion F2 Logistics sent upset-conscious Smart packing with a 25-18, 25-18, 27-25 victory yesterday and booked the first semifinals seat in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix at the Gen. Trias Sports Center in Cavite.

The top-ranked Cargo Movers flexed just enough muscles in the first two sets then leaned on veteran Cha Cruz-Behag’s clutch heroics in the third and decisive set to foil the eight-seeded Giga Hitters in one hour and 20 minutes of play under humid conditions.

The impressive win enabled F2 Logistics to advance to the Final Four round where it will take on the winner of the other quarterfinal duel between two-time tournament champion Foton and Sta. Lucia.

Reigning tournament MVP MJ Perez finished with a team-high 17 points, 16 of them off kills, while American buddy Kennedy Bryan added 15 attacks and a block, doing most of the expected damage on the offensive end.

It was Curz-Behag, however, who came through with the marginal points, first scoring a well-placed hit on the sideline that shattered a 25-all account before delivering an ace that sealed the deal for the Cargo Movers.

“Smart never gave up. They pushed up but that’s a good thing for us,” said Perez. “The weather is also too hot like we need to conserve our energy in the game. Once we start to get intense, we try to stay calm and breath because its too hot here.”

Cuban sensation Gyselle Silva once again led the charge of the Giga Hitters, who even put themselves at set point at 24-23 back in the third frame and appeared on the way for a fightback, only to lose poise in the face of the Cargo Movers’ rally.

F2 Logistics, despite missing the services of vital cog Aby Maraño due to an injured right hand, won the attacks department 46-42 and had four blocks while seeing Smart commit 20 unforced errors.

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