MANILA, Philippines – The F2 Logistics Cargo Movers defeated the PLDT High Speed Hitters, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-15, in Game Two of the Battle for Third in the All-Filipino Conference on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, sweeping their way to their first podium finish in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).
Similar to what happened in Game One, F2 had to overcome a set-opening defeat to win the trophy in their first PVL semifinal appearance.
After three close matches in which the previous sets were decided by just two points, the Cargo Movers, who competed in their first conference under new head coach Regine Diego, pulled away with a landslide victory in the fourth set.
After falling behind 1-0 in Set 2, F2 capitalized on a PLDT that made mistakes by giving up 11 points in the second frame.
The two errors in the final three rallies, which enabled F2 to come back from a 23-22 High Speed Hitters lead late in the set, were very significant.
Mika Reyes made an attack mistake, which allowed F2 to win the frame 25-23.
In Set 3, there was also back-and-forth action, with game breaks heading to F2. Mich Morente was blocked by Ara Galang, giving the Cargo Movers a 25-23 advantage and a 2-1 lead.
The Cargo Movers prevailed more easily in set 4, building a double-digit lead off of a 7-0 scoring run to lead by ten points, 20-10.
They increased their lead with a dump by Aby Marano to as much as 11, 23-12.
Four players scored more than ten points overall. However, the setter Kim Fajardo, who made both offensive and defensive contributions, was named Player of the Game.
Fajardo scored a PVL-best 11 points in the last frame on the strength of five attacks, four blocks, and two aces. With 24 outstanding sets, she also did a good job of ball distribution.
As a member of the national volleyball team, Kim Fajardo expressed her delight at finishing on the podium for the first time. Despite being happy with her personal performance, which contributed 11 points, Fajardo emphasized that the achievement of the team is more important than individual accolades. However, she acknowledged that the team still has to continue working hard to reach their ultimate goal, which is to win the championship.
Galang contributed 14 points to the cause, while Marano also chipped in with 11 points. However, it was Kim Dy who led the scoring with 19 markers for the team. On the other side of the court, Dell Palomata led PLDT with 16 points in the first set. Mean Mendrez and Jovy Prado also had significant contributions, scoring 14 and 13 points, respectively. Despite the efforts of the High Speed Hitters, who had a new coach in Rald Ricafort for the conference, they ended up settling for fourth place. The game showed that teamwork and individual efforts were both essential to winning, and the competition was a testament to the growth and progress of volleyball in the country.