By Jerome Lagunzad
If there’s someone among the Blaze Spikers who could proudly say that Petron’s latest title conquest is the sweetest of them all, it’s no less than team captain Frances Xinia Molina.
After all, the 5-foot-11 outside hitter is the lone remnant from the Blaze Spikers’ first two title runs in the Philippine Superliga back in the 2014 Grand Prix and the 2015 All-Filipino Conference, playing behind the shadows of her more touted teammates.
This time, the 22-year-old Molina played a bigger role and made sure her presence will be felt as she helped Petron complete another impressive title run at the expense of dethroned champion F2 Logistics via a masterful two-game sweep in the 2017 PSL All-Filipino Conference finals.
“Sobrang achievement being their team captain na mapagana silang lahat,” admitted the former San Beda College star yesterday, still on a high after the Blaze Spikers surpassed expectations with aplomb and made a big turnaround following a fourth-place finish in the most prestigious conference last year.
“Sobrang nakaka-proud lang talaga sa part ko dahil all-Filipino pa ‘yung tournament which means na hindi namin kinailangan ng import para mag-champion. Nagtrabaho talaga kaming lahat para manalo ng another championship.”
While Molina delivered a pair of vicious kills down the stretch, Petron also leaned on the likes of eventual Finals MVP Aiza Maizon-Pontillas, Bernadeth Pons and super-sub Cherry Rondina on the offensive end.
Crafty playmaker Rhea Dimaculangan ignited the Blaze Spikers’ recharged offense in the final two sets while Mika Reyes, Remy Palma, Toni Rose Basas, Ria Meneses and Carmela Tunay did their ample share.
How they were able to wield the big broom over a talented Cargo Movers side built around the core of reigning UAAP champion La Salle in empathic fashion is a clear testament to the Blaze Spikers’ willingness and desire to achieve success for the greater good.