Marciano finds a home

The much-awaited battle between Cignal and F2 Logistics in the 2016 PSL Grand Prix on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan is boiling into a star-studded affair with the best player of the past clashing with the best players of the present.

All eyes will surely be on Venus Bernal as she formally makes her return in the league she used to dominate in its maiden season, but is now being lorded over by the likes of Ara Galang, Aby Marano, Mika Reyes, Cha Cruz and Dawn Macandili.

Another interesting plot is the performance of Paneng Mercado, who will be facing Ramil de Jesus and her former La Salle teammates for the first time in her career. On the contrary, the Cargo Movers will parade former HD Spikers stalwarts Djanel Cheng and Janine Navarro to fill the void created by Mercado’s transfer.

It would also be the baptism of fire of F2 Logistics’ import Hayley Spelman, who missed the squad’s first two games before the league took a long break to give way for the country’s hosting of the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship last week.

Spelman is a 6-foot-7 gem of an opposite spiker and observers are curious whether her experience as former member of the United States juniors national team will rub off with F2 Logistics, which is looking for another crown after winning the All-Filipino Conference title few months back.

Buried underneath these massive storylines is the tale of Janine Marciano. A powerful open spiker from San Beda, Marciano is some sort of a volleyball nomad as she hopped from one team to another, from Cagayan Valley to PLDT to BaliPure in the V.League and now to Cignal in the PSL.

But still, she treats it as her major advantage.

[quote]Even before I don’t have a permanent team, so I’m already getting used to it. From Cagayan to PLDT, BaliPure and Cignal, I don’t have permanent set of teammates. So the adjustment isn’t new to me anymore.[/quote]

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Ultimate goal

The last time Marciano competed in the PSL was in 2014 when she donned the jersey of Cagayan Valley. But the Rising Suns moved over to the V.League, prompting Marciano to leave the PSL. Since then, she hopped from Cagayan Valley to PLDT and BaliPure, joining Alyssa Valdez and her former Ateneo teammates in providing the firepower.

Still, there’s something’s missing. She wants to find a home.

[quote]I moved to Cignal because I thought PLDT wouldn’t be joining the V.League again this conference. I confirmed it first with Coach Roger (Gorayeb) before I accepted Cignal’s offer to ask for his blessing.[/quote]

At Cignal, she will join the veteran group of Bernal, Micmic Laborte, Len Cortel, Paneng Mercado, Jheck Dionela and Cherry Vivas as well as overseas players like Lynda Morales, Laura Schaudt and Shawna-Lei Santos. Their mentor is Sammy Acaylar, a person who treats her like part of his family.

[quote]He motivates us to give our best whether in trainings or actual games.[/quote]

She added that the tough grind in the PSL pulls them closer together, turning them into a team with one common goal: Help Cignal win its first PSL title.

[quote]This league is really a heavy duty for me. This is the Grand Prix. This is a major conference of the PSL. It inspires us to work harder, knowing that all teams have beefed up their respective rosters with the presence of quality imports.[/quote]

True enough, almost all teams boosted their lineups. Petron drafted a superb import in Stephanie Niemer; Foton drafted Dindin Santiago, Ariel Usher and Lindsay Stalzer with Serbian Moro Branislav calling the shots while F2 Logistics has an intact nucleus beefed up by Cheng and Navarro.

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Sure, Cignal will also parade a powerful roster, but chemistry will be its main concern.

[quote]We don’t think we’re the strongest team. Yes, we have our individual strength, but we need to use it more as a team. We need to be united and stay together as a team. We are optimistic to win a title for Cignal. That is our ultimate goal.[/quote]

Marciano may have moved from one team to another, but the fact still remains; she wants to end her volleyball journey with the HD Spikers. And together, they will win as one.

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