F2 Logistics formally completed its return to glory when it dominated Cignal to capture the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino crown late Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It has been a long journey for the Cargo Movers.
After ruling this mid-season conference in 2016, the Cargo Movers bowed to Petron in 2017 and 2018, prompting them to plot a surefire way to regain their lost glory in this prestigious women’s volleyball tournament that has Team Rebel Sports, SOGO, Eurotel, PCSO, Cocolife, UCPB Gen, Mueller, Senoh, Asics, Bizooku and One Sport as sponsors.
They decided to net the biggest fish in the free-agent market: Kalei Mau.
With the prolific Filipino-American spiker at the attack zone, the Cargo Movers raced to an 11-game winning streak before a very familiar foe – Petron — denied them of a chance to sweep the conference. Their sorry setback was followed with another loss to PLDT Home Fibr to shut down the preliminaries with a 12-2 win-loss card.
But F2 Logistics remained defiant.
The Cargo Movers creamed Sta. Lucia in the quarterfinals before dominating Foton in the semifinals setting the stage to a finals showdown with Cignal, which shocked Petron in the Final Four.
In Game 1, Cignal played with fire in its eyes towing the game to a deciding fifth set before succumbing with a 22-25, 24-26, 25-18, 25-17, 8-15 loss that gave them the confidence to compete against the former champion in Game 2.
The Cargo Movers refused to get intimidated.
Mau unleashed her fighting form while Aby Maraño, Majoy Baron and Ara Galang were at their best as F2 Logistics crushed Cignal, 25-14, 25-16, 25-19, to clinch the title of this tourney that also has ESPN5 and Kapatid TV5 as broadcast partners.
De Jesus said it’s good to finally unload the monkey off their backs.
“I always tell my players that we’ve always been in the finals, but we fell short,” said de Jesus, who formally ended Petron’s championship dynasty.
“Now, we can call ourselves winners and it feels really good to finally reach our goal.”
De Jesus said Mau, who emerged as Most Valuable Player, provided the missing link in their attack.
“She was the missing link for us to be able to get back to this situation again,” said de Jesus, who immediately grabbed the hard-hitting former Arizona University spiker shortly after her club disbanded in the off-season.
“I’m thankful that she chose us despite offers from other teams.”
“But don’t get me wrong; even before Kalei’s arrival, F2 Logistics had always been a solid team. We are ready to play anytime and we have been in the finals in the past three years.”
Then, de Jesus politely excused himself to join his team in celebration.
He wanted to savor this victory before embarking on a new challenge in the Invitational Conference in October.