MANILA, Philippines -- Regine Diego could breathe a sigh of relief after the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers outlasted the PLDT High Speed Hitters in her first game in charge of the club.
Diego was appointed as F2 Logistics coach ahead of the Premier Volleyball League season, with the expectation that she can help the Cargo Movers maximize their considerable talent and potential after a disappointing campaign last year.
Their first two sets went according to plan for Diego, with offseason acquisition Myla Pablo meshing well with the F2 Logistics mainstays to push them to a 2-0 lead. But improved floor defense and smarter hitting by the High Speed Hitters in Sets 3 and 4 allowed them to push a deciding fifth set.
"Lahat ng teams, may attitude eh. So may attitude sila na naghihintay muna sila ma-challenge bago sila lumaban," Diego would say after the game. "Ngayon, we have to make a change in this team, in the system na kailangan, kuha na agad. Kuha na agad."
"Hindi pwedeng mag-intay ng mag-intay," she stressed.
The Cargo Movers then emerged on top after a back-and-forth fifth set, wherein they had to save a match point before getting clutch plays from skipper Aby Marano and Kianna Dy to snatch the win, 25-22, 25-21, 14-25, 20-25, 16-14.
"It feels like [a] championship [game]," a relieved Diego said afterward, as they opened the All-Filipino Conference with a thrilling win. "But yeah, it was a good game."
As nerve-wracking as the match was, Diego believes that it's exactly the kind of challenge that the Cargo Movers need early in their campaign.
"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," she said.
"It's really a good way para malaman namin kung ano ang mga challenges na mami-meet namin in the future. It's a good way din para maka-adjust kami kung ano dapat naming gawin," she added. "But I'm happy, 'cause we won, siyempre. And nakita ko rin kung gaano katapang ang mga players ko."
F2 returns to action on Saturday against the Akari Chargers (0-1), with Diego hoping to see immediate improvement from her squad.
"This was just a one win, and it was a difficult win. So, we have to improve every day. We have to improve next game, and kailangan pa namin mag-work harder," she said.