The Cargo Movers were at their best.
Import Hayley Spelman spewed fire with 21 kills and two aces for 23 point while local stars Cha Cruz, Mika Reyes, Aby Marano and Ara Galang were at their best, delivering the heavy blows on the HD Spikers in the crucial stretch of the deciding set.
Prior to that, the Cargo Movers were riding the crest of a three-game winning run after dominating Cignal, Generika and RC Cola-Army before surrendering to Petron via a flattening straight set decision.
With that, speculations are pregnant that if the Cargo Movers would continue their winning ways, they have a handsome chance of making it to the semifinals and where heavyweights Foton and Petron are expected to bunch them.
From the semis, anything can happen.
And their chance of winning another title looks brighter than the mid-day sun.
But for coach Ramil de Jesus, it’s still a long way to go. And unless they come up with some tweaks on their attacks, they have zero chances of overcoming the fluid assault of the Tornadoes and the Tri-Activ Spikers.
A seasoned guru who is keeping an impressive collection of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) crowns for La Salle, de Jesus surely knows what he’s talking about.
In fact, in their 22-25, 19-25, 10-25 setback to Petron last week, the Cargo Movers were greatly reduced into a poor version of their mighty selves as the Tri-Activ Spikers asserted their dominance from start to finish.
Stephanie Niemer, Petron’s diamond of an import, unloaded nine aces for game-high 21 points while Sydney Kemper led the Cargo Movers with a mere six points. Spelman, for her part, had a very forgettable stint with only six markers while failing to receive all the bombs Niemer dropped from the service box.
De Jesus said he anticipates that kind of battle as the playoffs draw near so they might as well do something to prevent such a humiliating finish before time runs out.
[quote]That loss to Petron is an eye-opener that we still have a lot to work on. I think we have to do another major adjustment in our rotation. There are times that we can’t finish off a long rally. That’s something we need to improve.[/quote]
F2 Logistics would carve out a masterful conquest of Cignal a couple of days later, but still, de Jesus was far from satisfied as they went cold in the third set while making a lot of miscues from the service box en route to a total of 32 errors.
[quote]We allowed them (Cignal) to get back because of our poor performance in the third set and service errors. That was a big factor. We have to do something about it in the next few days.[/quote]
Although de Jesus refused to delve into details, he hinted that the major adjustment involves their offensive rotation, especially now that they are obviously groping for form whenever imports Spelman and Sydney Kemper struggle offensively.
Against the HD Spikers, de Jesus pulled out both imports to allow Cruz and Galang to do the damage from the open position. The adjustment did wonder as the Cargo Movers went on to post a commanding advantage leading to that impressive victory.
Cruz and Galang are two of the most talented spikers ever to play for de Jesus.
Cruz, in fact, serves as the heart and soul of de Jesus’ squads in the PSL starting with AirAsia, Generika, Shopinas, Meralco and finally F2 Logistics. Same goes with Galang, who was tabbed as the top overall pick of this year’s draft despite suffering a scary knee injury in the UAAP last year.
Galang was supposed to go to RC Cola-Army, which owned the top overall pick. But the Cargo Movers made last-minute negotiations just to land the high-leaping opener from Pampanga and make sure that her knee injury won’t be aggravated.
Cruz and Galang played pivotal role in F2 Logistics’ march to the All-Filipino Conference title few months ago.
But with the arrival of the two imports, their roles were somehow reduced, prompting observers to conclude that de Jesus will start utilizing them anew when the tournament enters its crucial phase.
[quote]There are times that you are not familiar with the movements of the imports that’s why we are fielding our local players. There are also times that we bench our imports because the opposing teams were already discovering their strengths and weaknesses. These are the things that we don’t see in practice, but we’re learning from actual games due to the tightness of the matches.[/quote]
When asked what his specific adjustments would be, the brilliant mentor flashed his dimpled smile.
Obviously, he saw something that other teams don’t.