When two neutron stars collide, they will either form a larger neutron star or collapse into black hole. In sports, particularly in volleyball, a collision between two top-caliber players/teams create a whole, new universe of endless possibilities.
The 2019 season was a banner year for F2 Logistics in the Philippine SuperLiga (PSL) and Creamline in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).
Arguably the top squad of their respective leagues, the Cargo Movers and the Cool Smashers have had historic campaigns this year.
F2 Logistics’ move was nothing but slick as it won two out of three indoor conferences in PSL.
After a rough start of the season highlighted by injuries and undermanned lineup in the Grand Prix, the Cargo Movers marched to the All Filipino Conference with a rejuvenated lineup with the arrival of Kalei Mau. Mau, the eventual Most Valuable Player, steered the Ramil de Jesus-mentored squad to its second all-local title.
The ladies in yellow chalked a successful title defense bid in the Invitational Cup, further adding a fifth championship to their drawers.
It was a year of firsts for F2 Logistics. In franchise history, this was the first time the team successfully defended a title and the first time it won two titles in a row in a single season.
Not to be outdone, Creamline also has had a fruitful bid after winning the season-ending conference of their league to rack up their titles to three overall.
The Cool Smashers tapped Kuttika Kaewpin and Aleoscar Blanco in the Reinforced Conference, where they fell short of stopping PetroGazz’ Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson to settle for silver while being dethroned.
Bouncing back from this loss, coach Tai Bundit and his wards then completed a rare 20-0 tournament sweep in the Open Conference — both a first in franchise and league history.
Now, what happens when F2 Logistics and Creamline — two big, star teams in the country — clash, say, in an alternate universe?
The Cargo Movers’ defensive efforts will be led by 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix second leg Best Libero Dawn Macandili while Kyle Atienza keep the ball alive for the Cool Smashers. It will not be the first time these two defensive gems will go up against another as they have previously clashed during the the UAAP Season 80 finals.
While these two talented libero protect the floor, Majoy Baron and Aby Maraño takes on Risa Sato and Celine Domingo in a middle blocker clash at the net — a block competition between Baron and Domingo and a speed contest between Maraño and Sato. Notably, tje F2 Logistics’ duo are part of the senior national team as Creamline’s tandem has been part of the youth squad.
For the opposite, it will be an all La Salle battle as Kim Dy from the Cargo Movers and Michele Gumabao of the Cool Smashers take charge from the right wings. Dy and Gumabao were both standouts during their tenure with the Lady Spikers, with the former leading the team to a three-peat from Seasons 78 to 80 while Gumabao also did the same from Seasons 73 to 75.
As if these match-ups aren’t interesting enough, the war between the setters and the open spikers will be on a different, much exciting level.
Kim Fajardo and Jia Morado, arguably the country’s best setters today, will pick each other’s mind anew as Fajardo orchestrate F2 Logistics’ attacks while Morado weaves magic for Creamline. It will be reminiscent to their 4-year rivalry in the UAAP playing for La Salle and Ateneo, respectively.
All-around players Ara Galang and Jema Galanza will also spark the competition may it be on offense and defense. While they are both consistent source of points, it’s their do-it-all style that really beef up their respective squads.
But the cherry on top will the back-and-forth affair between Kalei Mau and Alyssa Valdez. two prolific scorers with varying styles.
Mau is a powerful hitter who can hit and score above the blockers with her towering form. Valdez, meanwhile, can light up the scoreboards at a moment’s notice with her fast and smart spike game.
Interestingly, they were both part of the national team this year with Mau towing the squad to a bronze medal finish in the first leg of ASEAN Grand Prix while Valdez duplicated the feat in the second leg.
A throwback to their chess matches in the collegiate level, de Jesus will try to pull the tricks against Bundit and vice versa in another promising battle between the coaches.
Imagine all the possibilities when these two champion teams take on each other — even just in a friendly game.
There is history between their players and coaches. There will be a sold-out arena as well given how huge their fan bases are. Most certainly, there is the championship-caliber skills.
It will be an instant blockbuster, definitely one for the books.
Unfortunately, the F2 Logistics-Creamline match-up is the great rivalry that never was.