Lone loss fuels Petron

Saturday, 25 Nov 2017
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Photo courtesy of Roman Prospero, Philippine Superliga

For Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos, there’s a lesson in every setback.

Delos Santos, the architect of the Blaze Spikers’ march to the All-Filipino title, said the heart-crushing loss to F2 Logistics early this month serves as their motivation in the ongoing Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix.

Against Iriga City Saturday, the Blaze Spikers displayed their might as they unleashed a strong start and an even stronger finish to notch a straight-set victory, 25-12, 25-15, 25-22.

Imports Hillary Hurley and Lindsay Stalzer conspired, delivering a combined 22 points to underscore the Blaze Spikers’ dominance at the attack zone.

The Blaze Spikers also notched seven blocks and 11 aces to claim sixth straight win and a chance to steal the leadership depending on the outcome of the match between reigning champion Foton and unbeaten F2 Logistics.

And Delos Santos said behind this massive success was a devastating setback.

“It (loss to F2 Logistics) was a wake-up call.”

“I’m not saying that the loss was good, but for me, it gave us a very good lesson and good experience. It gave us an idea that we were not as invincible as we initially thought.”

Heart-breaker

Delos Santos admitted that the setback to F2 Logistics was a heartbreaker.

After slicing through their first three matches like a hot knife to a butter with victories over Generika-Ayala, Sta. Lucia Realty and Cignal, the Blaze Spikers were heavily tipped to dominate the Cargo Movers, who will be making a debut after majority of their players played in the University Games in Dumaguete City.

The match was set at the University of St. La Salle gym in Bacolod City with thousands of screaming fans in attendance.

But after evening things out with a second set win, the Blaze Spikers found themselves struggling, fighting for their dear lives as the Cargo Movers hounded and pounded them at the defensive end in the third and fourth sets.

The smoke cleared, F2 Logistics emerged victorious, 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, 25-22, with imports Maria Jose Perez and Kennedy Bryan outclassing Hurley and Stalzer on both ends.

“It was a game that made us realized that we’re not yet a complete team, that we still have a lot to work on.”

“We’re glad that the Lord gave us that loss because we’re now able to process that we still have a lot to develop and we still have to solidify our performance.”

The Blaze Spikers went full blast from there and tallied three straight conquests, the last coming off the expense of the Lady Oragons.

Delos Santos said now that the loss is already behind them, they are now setting their sights on the quarterfinals.

“It’s a battle where one miss and you die.”

“This game is very important. And we will use the lessons we gained from our loss (to F2 Logistics) to be stronger in the quarterfinals.”