After challenge-filled win, F2 puts semis in crosshairs
Regine Diego gave credit to everyone on her staff for doing their jobs in a high-wire win the last time out and the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers are being kept on their toes by their coach for a crucial Thursday tiff that would mean a scot-free passage to the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference.
“It’s good to celebrate because a win is a win and that win was amazing,” Diego said after an epic come-from-behind 21-25, 25-17, 17-25, 25-21, 18-16 win over Choco Mucho on Tuesday where literal team effort—starting from successful challenges by her deputies to players doing the job on the floor—was highlighted at oven-hot PhilSports Arena in Pasig.
“But it’s not the end yet,” Diego added. “I know these girls are not going to be overconfident, hopefully, for the next game. We’re just going to celebrate for a second here and then move on and continue to work.”
The Cargo Movers were a a point away from taking their first loss in Pool B after Kianna Dy’s attack was called out, which was supposed to be the game-winning point for the Flying Titans, who celebrated inside the court.
But the coaching staff of Diego called for a video challenge, asking for a net touch. The review showed that the blockers of Dy touched the net, leading to an extended fifth set.
After giving themselves a chance, the F2 Logistics coaches had another successful challenge that saw Jolina dela Cruz’ blockers touch the attempt that made it 15-all and set the tables up for the wild finish anchored by Mars Alba, Dela Cruz and Ivy Lacsina.
“Our coaching staff actually has responsibilities. They have their own job inside the court while I’m coaching. I’m just that person standing up but we are working on it together,” said the youthful coach. “It’s really a teamwork thing. So, kudos to my coaching staff, you guys are the best.”
The Cargo Movers now gun for a fourth straight win when they battle Petro Gazz at 12 noon also at PhilSports, which promised that its air-conditioning system won’t conk out like it did during that heated main game on Tuesday.
“That fifth set, kudos to Carlo (Buzzichelli), our conditioning coach and coach Sonny (Montalvo). Because if they (players) are not well-conditioned enough we weren’t gonna survive that set [because of the heat],” Diego said after her charges fought back from 11-14 in the fifth set.
A win would make F2 the first of four local teams in the semifinals, where sides from Japan, Kurashiki Ablaze and Vietnam, Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh, are directly seeded.
Chery Tiggo and Gerflor kick off another four-game bill at 9:30 a.m. with Creamline (2-0) also going all-out to nail the first semis spot in Pool A against PLDT at 4 p.m. and Cignal likewise out to enhance its semis bid against ousted Farm Fresh in Pool B in the 6:30 p.m. nightcap.
The clash between Creamline and PLDT is also tipped to be a toss-up after the High Speed Hitters beefed up in the off-season by tapping Honey Royse Tubino for added firepower.