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Petron, F2 start series

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Today
(The Arena, San Juan City)
4:15 p.m. – Smart-Army vs Cignal
7:00 p.m. – F2 Logistics vs Petron

Petron and F2 Logistics add another chapter to their storied rivalry as they start their best-of-three titular showdown for the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference crown tonight at The Arena in San Juan City.

Game is at 7 p.m., with the Blaze Spikers out to sustain their championship tradition as they seek their third consecutive title this season and the Cargo Movers determined to come up with a strong response after falling prey the last time out.

Meanwhile, Smart-Army and dethroned tournament champion Cignal will collide at 4:15 p.m. in what promises to be a perfect appetizer as they duke it out for the bronze medal.

This will make the fourth straight time that both teams will figure in the finals, with the Blaze Spikers coming in as the slight favorites following their epic three-game victory over the erstwhile titleholder Cargo Movers in the Grand Prix tournament.

“Definitely, it will be a great match-up,” said Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos, who himself enjoys a 2-1 edge over F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus in their head-to-head matchup.

La Salle stars Dawn Macandili, Kianna Dy and Des Cheng, together with middle blocker Majoy Baron, should give F2 Logistics more weapons that it sorely missed during its previous encounter with Petron.

“The team had its shortcomings in the last Grand Prix,” said de Jesus, who acted as consultant to head coach Arnold Laniog last conference. “If they will not give their full effort and play well, we will get the same result like we had in the Grand Prix. If they are thirsty for this title, the players have to show it inside the court.”

Veterans Cha Cruz-Behag, Ara Galang, Aby Marano and Kim Fajardo are still in tow for the Cargo Movers. But De Jesus still has no reason to stay complacent against a Petron side parading an equally-intact core of Mika Reyes, Rhea Dimaculangan, Remy Palma, Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons.

“The core of Petron has been together for a long time. They are a strong and deep team. They have a very good system. We have to double our efforts and follow the game plan,” he said.