F2 Logistics came up with a masterful conquest of Foton, 25-15, 23-25, 25-23, 26-24, in the 2016 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix before a banner crowd late Tuesday at the Imus City Sports Complex.
The win was very impressive.
Import Hayley Spelman was at her best as she delivered 23 points while Aby Marano was a tower of power on defense, registering a conference-high eight of the Cargo Movers’ 16 total blocks. Open spikers Cha Cruz and Ara Galang also made significant contributions with 13 and 12 markers, respectively.
The win was F2 Logistics’ fifth in eight games, putting it ahead of RC Cola-Army in a tight race for the third spot in the playoffs. On the other hand, Cignal and Generika are expected to settle for the fifth and sixth spots with a 1-5 and 0-8 win-loss cards, respectively.
But more than gaining a good position in the next round, the victory means a lot to the Cargo Movers.
The Cargo Movers formally became the first team to tarnish the spotless mark of the Tornadoes, spoiling Foton’s bid to become the only team other than Petron to sweep the entire tournament.
It was their sweetest revenge.
And their coach, Ramil de Jesus, knows how badly his team wants to overcome this powerhouse Foton squad.
Foton and F2 Logistics are slowly turning into rivals.
After clashing in a tight three-game finals duel in the All-Filipino Conference, the Tornadoes and the Cargo Movers came up with their respective off-season buildups on a bid to claim the crown and gain a chance to represent the country in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship in Kazakhstan.
But their preparation took a different route.
While Foton had an early buildup with imports Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher flying in early to lead the Tornadoes in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship which the country hosted last September, the Cargo Movers had a little difficulty signing up an import.
Sources said de Jesus knows the tough battle ahead that’s why he wanted an import, who can do everything on the court – from attacking to playing defense both at the net and on the floor.
F2 Logistics signed up Sydney Kemper at the last minute while Spelman arrived few days after the tournament formally opened on Oct. 5.
With Spelman out and Galang hobbling with an injury, the Cargo Movers were an easy prey to the Tornadoes in their first meeting, 25-18, 25-20, 25-15.
But this time, the tables have turned.
Foton marched to the warzone without Jaja Santiago, who joined National University in a 12-day training camp in Japan. University of Santo Tomas stars Sisi Rondina and EJ Laure were also out, leaving bulk of the scoring load on the shoulders of Stalzer and Usher.
[quote cite=’Ramil de Jesus’]Jaja’s absence means a lot. It’s like playing with four imports with Jaja around. They were hard to stop.[/quote]
Despite knowing the magnitude of the match, which some observers speculated to turn into a preview of the finals, de Jesus said they did nothing special to pull this monster victory.
He said it wasn’t their skills or game plan that gave them the win – it’s just their willingness to gain revenge.
[quote]We just had a normal practice. Nothing special. Winning over Foton is the goal of the team. At the same time, the imports told me that they want to win in this game. So they did everything they could and exerted a lot of effort to get this victory.[/quote]
De Jesus added that their game plan was very simple.
[quote]I told them that they just have to play defense, receive and come up with a good attack – just as simple as that. Nothing fancy. Nothing special.[/quote]
There were only two things with the way de Jesus delivered his post-match statement: It’s either he was just trying to be humble or he was really downplaying all the hard work, all the preparations they are asserting into this conference.
We may never know.
The only sure thing is that the next match between these two elite teams would definitely be explosive.