MANILA, Philippines -- The F2 Logistics Cargo Movers endured two days of uncertainty before their future in volleyball was made secure.
The club, owned by F2 Logistics Philippines, Inc., was the last to make the move from the Philippine Superliga (PSL) to the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) last week. Cignal HD and PLDT confirmed their transfer on March 3; on March 9, Sta. Lucia and Chery Tiggo both made the highly-anticipated jump as well.
F2 Logistics, the reigning PSL All-Filipino Conference champion, emerged as the last active team left in the league. It was a great source of anxiety for their team captain, veteran middle blocker Aby Maraño, who revealed that she was worried for her future in the sport amid the strange situation.
"Aminin ko, medyo naiyak ako," she told ABS-CBN News. "Kasi, sabi ko, shucks, mai-stop na naman ba? Wala bang volleyball ngayon, ganyan. Iniisip ko kasi talaga 'yung career ko."
Maraño, 28, had already lost one year of her volleyball career to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the PSL cancelled its season in 2020. She was not ready to lose another year.
"Sabi ko, ayoko ng masyado pang magtagal. Kumbaga, itong year na 'to at mga susunod na taon, bilang na 'yun. Bilang na 'yun sa mga pa-last dance ko," she explained.
"Parang, kaya kaya ako naiiyak, sabi ko, 'Pag hindi 'to natuloy na naman ngayon, mae-extend na naman. Mae-extend na naman ako'," she added.
The volleyball community rallied around the Cargo Movers, as players began making vague posts on social media. At that point, the PVL already had 11 teams and league president Ricky Palou told ABS-CBN News that he was not in contact with F2 Logistics.
On Twitter, volleyball fans made their feelings known to the F2 Logistics leadership. They unleashed the "#LetsMoveNow" hashtag, encouraging the team to make a similar jump to the PVL.
Prominent volleyball fan Mac Dionisio said: "F2, kung masyadong mabigat ang baso, pakigalaw ang shot glass. Dine-deserve ko as a fan 'yung (Alyssa) Valdez-(Ara) Galang."
That particular tweet lifted Maraño's spirits. "Parang two days 'yung interval bago nag-announce. Tapos wala pa din," she recalled. "Sabi ni Bengs, kahit 'yung takalan na lang ng sa gamot, gumalaw lang. Ganoon."
"And 'yun," she added, "Thursday, gumalaw na nga."
It took two more days, but the news that the Cargo Movers -- and the volleyball community -- had been waiting for finally came. F2 Logistics announced that they would turn professional, and transfer to the PVL. Palou confirmed to ABS-CBN News that F2 Logistics will be a full-time team.
"Parang birthday ko," Maraño said of her reaction. "Ganooon 'yung feeling -- sobrang saya."
Even Twitter, usually a "toxic" place, was in a celebratory mood that day, Maraño noted.
"Actually 'yung Twitter, isa sa mga toxic na social media na meron ako eh. Pero that very day, sobrang saya, everyone's really happy na we have one league na," she said. "Ang daming mga photos -- meron ngang photo namin na nasa national team kami lahat, tapos nagre-rejoice 'yung mga tao kasi at last, nasa isang liga na kami."
The Cargo Movers, she says, are "really happy." There's a renewed eagerness to start training and working out, and they are excited to plunge into action in May, when the PVL unwraps its first professional season in a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
They're not just excited; they are also grateful. Even with the brief period of uncertainty, the Cargo Movers never lost faith in their management, said Maraño.
"Kami naman, full 'yung trust namin sa F2 management, as in 101% or more. Kaya naging patient lang kami," she said.
"Pinaramdam naman ni F2 na kahit ano mangyari, maglalaro daw kami," she added. "So 'yun, pinanghawakan namin 'yung salita na 'yun ni Sir Efren (Uy), 'yung team owner namin. And ever since naman, 'di niya kami pinapabayaan."
With their transfer finalized and their place in the league secure, the Cargo Movers are now preparing for their new challenge. They were among the powerhouse teams in the PSL, but the PVL also has a slew of tough teams led by defending Open Conference champion Creamline and Reinforced Conference champion PetroGazz.
And of course, F2 Logistics is very familiar with Cignal HD, Sta. Lucia, Chery Tiggo and PLDT.
"Wala namang nararamdamang kaba or pressure," Maraño said of their mindset. "More of excitement lang talaga. Siyempre, na-miss mo na ring kalaban 'yung mga former opponents mo before, 'di ba, sa college."
"Mas masarap 'yun kasi magkakasama tayo lahat, para nagkaka-tagisan tayo ng talent. And with that, 'di ba, gumagaling lahat ng players, kasi nga, nacha-challenge sa bawat isa."