With the rest of the field erecting super teams with the recruitment of high-caliber imports and topnotch locals, F2 Logistics works in silence, covering every single move with a shroud of secrecy in anticipation for the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix on Oct. 8.
In the presentation of lineups Wednesday, there was no drastic change in the Cargo Movers’ roster with only Cienne Cruz joining the team while former College of Saint Benilde stars Djanel Cheng and Janine Navarro are still working for their release order from Cignal.
Stars Mika Reyes, Aby Marano, Cha Cruz, Kim Fajardo and Cyd Demecillo will all return as well as Most Valuable Player Dawn Macandili, Kim Dy and Majoy Baron, who were reportedly sitting out the Grand Prix in preparation for the UAAP early next year.
They are expected to have their hands full against a rock-solid Cignal squad bannered by imports Lynda Morales and Laura Schaudt with veterans Venus Bernal, Paneng Mercado, Lourdes Patillano and Janine Marciano joining the core of Michelle Laborte, Jheck Dionela and Cherry Vivas.
The HD Spikers also acquired the services of Filipino-Hawaiian playmaker Shawna-Lei Santos from St. John’s University in the US NCAA.
Reigning champion Foton and Petron are also tough nuts to crack.
The Tornadoes will be bringing in Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher with Jaja Santiago, Rhea Dimaculangan, Angeli Araneta and Maika Ortiz while the Tri-Activ Spikers parade the intact core of Frances Molina, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Maica Morada, Bang Pineda and Jen Reyes with Stephanie Niemer and Serena Warner serving as reinforcement.
Generika, meanwhile, will have the nucleus of Ria Meneses, Shaya Adorador, Gen Casugod and Rubie de Leon to bank on with Darlene Ramdin and Polina Liutikova as reinforcements.
On the same note, RC Cola-Army will be intact as Jovelyn Gonzaga, Honey Royse Tubino , Christine Agno and other military athletes will be back to join Rachel Anne Daquis, Tina Salak and Michelle Carolino in carrying the fight.
The lineups will be finalized on Friday. But the biggest question is the import of the Cargo Movers.
An F2 Logistics insider said the coaching staff are keeping their options close to their chest, but that they are training their sights on a pair of prospects with rock-solid credentials: Ekaterina Krivets and Yevgeniya Nyukhalova.
The source said the Cargo Movers is breaking the bank on Krivets, who is also being lined up to see action for PSL Manila in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship from Oct. 18 to 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Krivets is a 6-foot-4 middle blocker who saw action for Dynamo Krasnodar – a Russian powerhouse that won the CEV Women’s Challenge Cup in 2013 and Women’s CEV Cup in 2015 and 2016. The squad also campaigned in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in Switzerland last year.
Prior to that Krivets played for Dinamo Moscow together with world-class stars Fernanda Garay of Brazil, Nataliya Goncharova and Tatiana Kosheleva of Russia and Sanja Popovic of Serbia.
She won a gold medal for Russia in the Belogorod Summer Universiade in 2008 and four silver medals in the championship of Russia.
She also had a brief appearance for Volero Zurich, which is regarded as the richest club in Switzerland.
[quote]Krivets is no ordinary player.
She plays a major role in the success of two of Russia’s best clubs, Dinamo Moscow and Dinamo Krasnodar. She would surely give Lynda Morales a run for her money when it comes to manning the middle.[/quote]
Nyukhalova also offers glowing credentials. She is a 6-foot-4 spiker from Ukraine who saw action for VK Severodontchanka in Ukraine, Volero Zurich in Switzerland and ES Le Cannet in France.
She also saw action for the Swiss powerhouse in the past two editions of the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in 2014 and 2015 and, probably, for PSL Manila this year.
The good thing is that she’s only 21 and remains hungry for success.
[quote]She will be an asset; that’s for sure.
F2 Logistics is recruiting at a mad pace. It doesn’t want to be outdone. Its target is not just to win the Grand Prix crown, but also to represent the country in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship next year.[/quote]
The source added that acquiring an import at the last minute could be a strategy of Ramil de Jesus.
[quote]Remember that his team (Meralco) didn’t fare well last year. He took it personally. That’s his motivation.
F2 Logistics has the resources. And it is now shooting for two of the best imports ever to step on local soil. Negotiations are still ongoing, but everybody is optimistic that they will nail it.[/quote]