Monday, May 07, 2018

Petron Blaze Spikers win the PSL Grand Prix

Congratulations Petron Blaze Spikers for winning the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix. They exacted revenge against F2 Logistics, who beat them in last year's Grand Prix final.

Petron seemed to be the heavy favorites early in the tournament since they were undefeated in the first half of the eliminations, maintaining a streak that included a win over F2. Their air of invincibility was shattered, however, when Sta. Lucia upset them in straight sets. With F2 going on an undefeated run of their own, it was interesting to see how the final would unfold.

In the end, the firepower of Petron's new import Kath Bell (who replaced an injured Hillary Hurley) and the leadership and will-to-win of their captain Lindsay Stalzer proved just enough to give Petron the trophy. Stalzer in fact was declared tournament MVP, making her the only two-time MVP in the Grand Prix.

F2 Logistics actually dominated the individual awards, taking 5 out of the 10 awards given out. While most of the awardees were imports, three of the awardees were local players: Kim Fajardo was best setter, Aby Marano was best middle blocker, and Mika Reyes was second best middle blocker. Amazing how all three local player awardees are from DLSU and how all of them actually played together in the UAAP.

Petron and F2 Logistics seem to have taken a step further than most, since these two teams played against each other in the last three PSL tournaments. That said, the Grand Prix featured a lot of tough, close matches and a large chunk of the games went 4 or 5 sets, including some pretty interesting upsets and come-from-behind victories, so there's no telling how things will turn out in the future. With Jaja Santiago graduating from the UAAP, she may be able to focus more on her PSL career and if she remains teamed up with her sister, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, they could very well make Foton more formidable than they are now. I am definitely looking forward to see what happens in the next PSL tournament.

Congratulations, Petron Blaze Spikers!

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