For imports Lindsay Stalzer and Maria Jose Perez of F2 Logistics, their victory over Petron in Game 1 of their Philippine Superliga Grand Prix best-of-three finals series was more than just a big feather on their caps.
Stalzer admitted that they prepared long and hard to get the chance to get back at Petron and they achieved half of their mission following their 25-20, 16-25, 25-23, 25-23m win in the opener of their finals showdown late Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City.
The former Bradley University star said she was quite disappointed after Petron – her former team – opted to tap the services of Stephanie Niemer and Katherine Bell in the off-season despite leading them to the Grand Prix title last year.
The Cargo Movers and the Blaze Spikers were playing at presstime with the former – especially Stalzer – determined to finish off the Blaze Spikers.
A victory by Petron, however, will extend the series to a rubber match on Saturday at the same venue.
“I feel really good,” said Stalzer shortly after they became the first team to tarnish Petron’s record.
Going into the opener of their series, the Blaze Spikers were undefeated in 17 games.
“This team (Petron) had really grown throughout the season and it’s always nice to beat the team that you used to play for,” she said.
Stalzer said since coming over to replace Becky Perry two months ago, she had been wanting to win over her former team and lead the Cargo Movers to the title.
“It has been on my mind since I came over,” she said. “But during the game, I’m just focussed on getting the win.”
But the motivation of Perez is different.
After leading the Cargo Movers to a dramatic come-from-behind win in 2017, Perez suffered massive heartache after Stalzer, Hillary Hurley and the rest of the Blaze Spikers knocked the crown of their heads the following year.
This is her third finals battle against the Blaze Spikers and Perez admitted that she wants to make sure that the crown they used to have will be recovered.
“This is my third finals against Petron and I’m really motivated to get the win because this is the reason why I decided to come over,” said Perez, a member of the Venezuelan national women’s volleyball team.