PVL: F2 Logistics survives PLDT to give Diego a winning debut

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2023 07:05 PM | Updated as of Feb 07 2023 07:53 PM

PVL Media.
Myla Pablo in action for F2 Logistics against PLDT. PVL Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The F2 Logistics Cargo Movers averted disaster and escaped with a five-set victory over the PLDT High Speed Hitters, Tuesday afternoon at the PhilSports Arena.

The Cargo Movers came away with a hard-earned 25-22, 25-21, 14-25, 20-25, 16-14 triumph to give new head coach Regine Diego a triumphant debut in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Conference.

Myla Pablo -- playing her first game for F2 Logistics -- had 21 points on 20 kills, while Cha Cruz-Behag came off the bench to score three points and shore up the Cargo Movers' defense in her first game since 2018. 

The win did not come easily for the Cargo Movers, who squandered a two-set lead and fell apart in the third and fourth frames. They had to save a match point before a clutch block by Aby Maraño and Kianna Dy's crosscourt hit sealed their win.

"It feels like [a] championship," said Diego, the lone female coach in the PVL. "But at least we saw what we need to train more. Kung saan kami nag-lack, kung saan kami magaling, para next game maka-adjust kami kaagad." 

"It's really a good way para malaman namin kung ano ang mga challenges na mami-meet namin in the future," she added.

Pablo was unstoppable in the first two sets: she put the Cargo Movers at set point, 24-20, in the first frame then ended matters with another crosscourt hit after the High Speed Hitters saved two points. In the second period, her offspeed attack again gave F2 Logistics a 24-10 lead, and after Jules Samonte saved a set point for PLDT, Ivy Lacsina came up with a huge rejection of Jovie Prado to give the Cargo Movers a 2-0 lead.

But the High Speed Hitters struck back in the third set, while F2 Logistics succumbed to errors. The Cargo Movers committed eight miscues in the frame which helped PLDT cruise to a big win and extend the match. 

PLDT pulled ahead, 22-13, in Set 4 before the Cargo Movers made a late run behind reserve Elaine Kasilag. They came as close as four points, 23-19, after the High Speed Hitters committed back-to-back errors. A kill by Prado put them at set point, 24-19, but she sent her attack short in the next rally to keep F2 Logistics alive.

Dell Palomata sent back Dy at the net, however, to force a decider.

Neither team could seize control in the fifth, with both squads alternating hits until a net violation by Maraño put the High Speed Hitters at match point, 14-13.

PLDT thought it had won when Mean Mendrez uncorked a hit in the next rally, but she was called for a net violation for a 14-all count. The Cargo Movers displayed their poise from there, with Maraño turning back a Mika Reyes attack, and Dy perfectly placing her own attack to finally wrap up the match after two hours and 43 minutes.

"I'm happy, 'cause we won, siyempre. And nakita ko rin kung gaano katapang ang mga players ko," said Diego. 

Dy finished with 17 points and Maraño added 11, as the Cargo Movers survived an error-strewn game that saw them gift PLDT with 36 free points. Libero Dawn Macandili earned Player of the Match honors after registering 10 receptions and 35 digs. 

Palomata finished with 16 points, including three blocks, for PLDT, while Reyes scored four of her 15 points on blocks. Prado had 17 markers for the High Speed Hitters, who could not give new head coach Rald Ricafort a winning welcome.