F2 Logistics coasted to a 25-17, 25-27, 25-19, 25-14 victory over Generika in the 2016 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix late Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Cargo Movers looked impressive.
They were attacking, defending and playing the kind of volleyball they used to do when they claimed the All-Filipino title earlier this year.
But in the tail-end part of the fourth set, a strange thing happened.
Ramil de Jesus pulled out Spelman and inserted a setter in Djanel Cheng, leaving Kim Fajardo manning the opposite spiker position.
The last time Fajardo played as a spiker was in high school in Calatagan, Batangas and the only time she played as setter was when her former coach at University of Santo Tomas — incumbent Generika coach Francis Vicente — converted her into a playmaker to accommodate her childhood friend — a young spiker by the name of Alyssa Valdez.
But instead of getting confused, Fajardo responded to this strange scenario by unleashing a booming kill, much to the delight of the large group of yellow-cladded fans in the gallery.
The attack was counted, it was the match-clinching point, but the mystery remains: Why did de Jesus allow Fajardo to serve as a spiker?
Was it just an innocent experiment – or maybe it’s a preparation for something bigger?
Out of gas
A prominent F2 Logistics insider claimed that putting Fajardo in the open spiker position is neither an experiment nor a preparation for something bigger, probably for the upcoming UAAP season where Fajardo is expected to suit up a new for De La Salle University.
The source said the explanation was simple: the Cargo Movers simply ran out of gas.
[quote]Coach Ramil saw that the imports were already tired. That’s why he opted to give them a rest and move Kim to attacker. Anyway, the match was already decided.[/quote]
That’s why in the second set, they couldn’t match the energy of Darlene Ramdin, Polina Liutikova and the younger Lifesavers, prompting them to surrender in the crucial stretch of the set.
Although they bounced back in the third set, fatigue was already playing a major factor in the match.
[quote]We were simply tired. The team has yet to take a good rest. I tried to do all kinds of rotation, but the imports were really tired. They can’t cope up. So I decided to give them a rest and give the local players a break, especially in the fourth set.[/quote]
De Jesus cited the tight schedule of the league as the main reason for their stress.
In fact, the Cargo Movers have played four times in a span of seven days with a couple of out-of-town stops in Malolos City in Bulacan and Imus City in Cavite.
Their next game would be this Tuesday, a crucial battle with RC Cola-Army in Gen. Trias City in Cavite where the third spot in the playoffs is at stake.
[quote]We’re adjusting every game and looking for the right combination of plays and rotation of players. But we really can’t go full blast since we’re playing every other day. We can’t identify our strength and polish our game because of that tight schedule.[/quote]
A warm round of applause greeted Fajardo after delivering that match-clinching attack.
Some speculated that it was de Jesus’ stroke of a genius while others said that it’s a preparation for something grand, something bigger come UAAP.
De Jesus just brushed it off.
He knows Fajardo’s display of her attacking prowess only comes once in a blue moon.