More than the technical terms, the X’s and O’s and intricate match statistics, there is one player who can give Petron a crystal-clear idea of what’s going on inside the camp of F2 Logistics – Mika Reyes.
Reyes knows the Cargo Movers like the back of her hand.
She spent her college years under the system of Ramil de Jesus at De La Salle University and won her first Philippine Superliga (PSL) title with the Cargo Movers.
Now, she’s with the Blaze Spikers and appears ready to spill all the trade secrets on how to overcome a powerful, very disciplined team like the Cargo Movers in Game 1 of their PSL All Filipino Conference best-of-three title showdown on Tuesday at the Muntinlupa Sports Centre.
Reyes, the captain of the national team headed for the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games, admitted that she knows de Jesus’ system fully well after winning three titles with the Lady Spikers in the UAAP.
But it’s not a guarantee that they will emerge victorious.
In the preliminaries, Petron crushed F2 Logistics in straight sets.
The Cargo Movers showed up miles away from their fighting form, allowing Reyes, Ria Meneses, Bernadeth Pons, Sisi Rondina, Remy Palma and the rest of the Blaze Spikers to hammer them right from the opening serve.
But everything is water under the bridge now. And Reyes knows the Cargo Movers already did their homework.
[quote]“Knowing coach Ramil, they will definitely play good, especially now na finals na. Hindi sya pressure, again, it’s a challenge for me kasi first game namin sila and matagal na din namin sila hindi nakakalaban. Iba sila gumalaw compared sa mga nakalaban namin so magandang game ito for sure.”[/quote]
True enough, the Cargo Movers flexed its muscles in the semifinals.
Ranged against a veteran-laden Cignal squad, the Cargo Movers showed up prepared as if firing a warning shot, sending a strong statement that they are ready to crush whoever blocks their way.
Aby Marano played like a beast on both ends while Ara Galang, whom de Jesus describes as the “heart and soul” of the squad, was in her deadly form, reducing veteran international campaigners Jovelyn Gonzaga, Royse Tubino and Rachel Anne Daquis into wide-eyed rookies.
[quote]“I saw the condition of (my) players and I told myself that we’re ready to come up with a massive win. It just depends on whom we will face in the finals. After this (Petron-Foton match), then we will start our preparation.”[/quote]
But even if his former ward in Reyes and the rampaging Blaze Spikers emerging as their finals foes, de Jesus still claimed that everything is still under control.
[quote]“Hindi naman masyadong kawalan si Mika. Yung pagka-alis ni Mika, nagkaroon naman ng break si Majoy Baron. So parang mas naging confident si Majoy, lalo na naging season MVP (Most Valuable Player) ng UAAP, so confident na confident sya pagpasok ng conference. Actually, nung nasa amin si Mika, ang liit ng playing time ni Majoy.”[/quote]
No time to relax
Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos said he would need all the help he could get to solve the mystery of de Jesus, something that he failed to do when he was still calling the shots for Far Eastern University in the UAAP.
He agreed that Reyes could provide him with insights, but at the end of the day, it still needs an all-out team effort to slay a giant like F2 Logistics.
[quote]“Definitely kailangan yun. Syempre kailangan yun. Pero hindi kami pwedeng mag-relax. Ibibigay namin ang best namin especially F2 yung kalaban namin. Knowing F2 Logistics, I’m sure madaming sorpresa yun.”[/quote]
Delos Santos said he would use the next few days to study and prepare for the tough battle ahead.
Reyes’ deep knowledge and familiarity of their foes may or may not be utilized — but still, she would definitely play a key role to the title bid of these Blaze Spikers.