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War of attrition

F2, Petron dispute PSL G’Prix crown

By Jerome Lagunzad

Game Today
(Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
6 p.m. – Petron vs F2 Logistics
(Game 3, winner-take-all showdown)

Repeat or redemption?

The fitting answer to that will be known tonight as defending champion F2 Logistics and formidable Petron go at it for the final time with the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix crown up for grabs before an expected mammoth crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Momentum will be on the side of the Cargo Movers after they returned the favor to the Blaze Spikers with a methodical 25-17, 25-22, 25-19 victory in Game 2 last Thursday night, forging a sudden-death encounter for the second straight time.

History should also favor F2 Logistics, which also clawed back from a 0-1 series deficit and claimed the first two matches to complete its stunning conquest of Petron in last year’s edition of the import-spiced tournament.

Reigning tournament MVP MJ Perez bounced back from a listless outing in their five-set loss in the opener, coming up with 20 points and nine excellent receptions while getting enough support from his fellow Cargo Movers.

Former La Salle stars Ara Galang and Aby Maraño teamed up for 20 points while American import Kennedy Bryan added nine points, but it was the F2 Logistics’ rock-solid defense against Petron’s smashing import Kath Bell at the net which proved to be the key.

The 6-foot-1 Bell was limited down to just 15 points, the same output of one-time tourney MVP winner Lindsay Stalzer, as the former University of Texas standout struggled to get her usual groove after exploding for 42 points in their 23-25, 20-25, 25-15, 25-22, 15-9 victory in Game 1 last Tuesday.

“Mas prepared kami mentally ngayon kesa last time (back in Game 1),” said F2 Logistics coach Arnold Laniog, whose wards made 11 emphatic kill blocks, seven of those coming from Maraño and Perez, doing enough to silence Petron’s top guns.