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PSL Finals: Petron eyes payback

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Tuesday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 pm – Foton vs Cocolife
(Battle for Third)
7:00 pm – F2 Logistics vs Petron
(Game 1, best-of-3 finals)

It’s time for redemption.

That’s how veteran Petron reinforcement Lindsay Stalzer summed up the Blaze Spikers’ collective mindset against the defending champion F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in a much-awaited finals rematch for the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix crown starting on Tuesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

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The 6-foot-1 Stalzer couldn’t hide her excitement moments after Petron repeated over semifinals rival Cocolife, 25-15, 25-15, 25-16, on Thursday night and forged what promises to be a blockbuster best-of-three titular showdown with F2 Logistics, which also swept its way past Foton in the other semis pairing.

“I’m so excited. It’s time for redemption,” said the former 2015 PSL Grand Prix tournament MVP winner who tallied 15 attacks on top of eight successful digs and five excellent receptions in the Blaze Spikers’ series-clinching win over the Asset Managers.

Stalzer has all reasons to be motivated and determined more than ever since she and the rest of her fellow Blaze Spikers are eager to get back at the Cargo Movers after enduring a heartbreaker in an epic three-game finals duel last year.

“That’s really our main focus since Day 1. Everything we’ve done has been a preparation for the finals,” she said, a bold statement echoed by Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos.

“Sobrang ganda ng laro ng mga imports namin. Also the locals, hindi nag-stop na gawin ‘yung roles nila. Kumabaga, in-all out nila kasi gusto talaga namin makuha ‘yung goal na makapasok ulit sa finals kasi siyempre naging malaki ‘yung lapses namin before. Hopefully this time, makuha na namin,” he said.

Stalzer and Delos Santos should be more confident going up against the Cargo Movers, led by reigning tourney MVP MJ Perez and grizzled Kennedy Bryan, this time since the Blaze Spikers have been getting want they’ve been wanting so far from touted American import Katherine Bell.

The former University of Texas star who was brought in to replace Hillary Hurley last week has been living up to her lofty billing, underscored by another game-high of 20 points, most of them on the offensive end, as she upstaged Cocolife’s formidable Serbian duo of Sara Klisura and Marta Drpa.

Nobody among the Blaze Spikers to see Bell deliver on a consistent basis than Delos Santos, who said: “Sobra siyang talented and she’s an all-around player. Madali siya makapag-adjust sa mga gusto naming mangyari kasi nga flexible siya. Sobrang cool lang. Basta 100 percent ibibigay niya every game.”

That should be enough for the Cargo Movers to remain cautious in what could be their biggest stumbling for a title repeat.