F2 Logistics’ return highlights Champions League opening
Volleyball fans did not get to see one of the most star-studded, decorated teams during the sport’s inaugural professional tournament.
That’s why when the Champions League kicks off on Saturday, all eyes will be on F2 Logistics.
The team will headline opening day at Aquamarine Gym in Lipa City, Batangas, and the Cargo Movers will be one of the tournament favorites for the crown, along with Premier Volleyball League (PVL) champion Chery Tiggo.
F2 Logistics, whose stars were reunited after a long layoff, will take on the Antipolo-based California Precision Sports Spikers at 1:30 p.m. The Pro Crossovers, minus star player Jaja Santiago, square off with the Tuguegarao Perlas Spikers at 4 p.m.
Both top teams are expected to carve a path to the finals, with inaugural professional champions Chery still loaded with firepower despite the absence of Santiago, who is playing as an import in Japan.
There will be other matches on opening day, with the PetroGazz Angels and the Baguio City Highlanders opening hostilities at 10 a.m.
Fans, who are not allowed in the venue, will have to wait until the last day of the tournament, Nov. 25, to witness F2 Logistics and Chery Tiggo battle each other. Matches will be streamed via the Facebook page of Smart Sports and the organizing Philippine National Volleyball Federation’s (PNVF) website.
Strict health protocol greeted the players, who each had to undergo two reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests in accordance to bubble requirements.
They all had tests via Red Cross in Mall of Asia Arena and then once again after checking in at a lush, mountainside hotel overlooking Taal volcano.
Teams clash in a single round robin with the one having the most points automatically capturing the title. Rankings are based on won matches, set counts and, if needed, the quotient system.
“The Champions League is a staple among members of the national federation,” said PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara. “This is a special edition because this is the first time we are holding it.”
The organizers encountered tall odds in putting up one of very few tournaments in the midst of the pandemic. One of them was the last-minute withdrawal of Sta. Lucia Realty due to eligibility requirement.
It will also miss top teams from the PVL’s inaugural professional season like Creamline and Choco Mucho.
But Suzara said the field will never lack in quality volleyball with certified stars like Majoy Baron, Aby Maraño, Kalei Mau and Dawn Macandili suiting up for F2 Logistics. Chery Tiggo will still have the services of Dindin Manabat, Mylene Paat and Maika Ortiz.
“We just have to make adjustments given that we are still in the pandemic,” said Suzara. “But we are establishing this tournament to become the barometer of volleyball skills and talents in the country.”
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