For the majority of their successful 2019 Philippine SuperLiga (PSL) All Filipino Conference campaign, F2 Logistics leaned heavily on Kalei Mau’s scoring prowess.
Mau, the 6-foot-2 outside hitter out of University of Arizona, inserted herself to the Ramil de Jesus system like a correct shoe fit — immediately getting in sync with Ara Galang, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili on top of flexing her own brand of volleyball.
The eventual Most Valuable Player, on her first Finals stint, drove the Cargo Movers to a conference championship — the franchise’s fourth and her first since debuting in 2018.
But with Mau acquiring an Achilles injury during her national team stint, F2 Logistics had to get back to its old way of life without the towering spiker — an all-team effort in scoring — in their title defense bid in the 2019 PSL Invitationals Cup.
It cost the Cargo Movers their first game before finally getting their old groove back with Galang, Baron and Kim Dy leading the offense.
Following that debut loss, the de Jesus-mentored spikers have racked up five straight victories to earn an outright semifinals berth.
Not only did the win marked F2 Logistics eighth straight semis stint, it also saw the return of Mau who missed the majority of the squad’s eliminations round action.
With this, Dy said the Cargo Movers just received a major confidence boost ahead of the conference’s crucial stretch.
Recognizing the firepower the outside hitter possesses, the opposite spiker out of La Salle said Mau’s comeback is a welcome development as they look to continue their streak against Cignal in the knockout semis.
“We all know naman na [si] Kalei malakas siya so it gives us extra confidence,” Dy said.
True enough, F2 Logistics looked confident during its three-set conquest of Sta. Lucia, 25-22, 25-15, 25-15, to cap their elims campaign on a high.
Dy, who scored 23 points the last timeout, shone anew as she tallied seven kills, two blocks and an ace for a 10-point output leading the Cargo Movers.
Mau, meanwhile, scored 11 in two sets played as Galang and Aby Maraño added 10 and eight, respectively.
But while they looked even more formidable already with Mau’s return, Dy said there are still lapses they need to address.
For her, F2 Logistics must continue leveling up its game as the conference is now down to two play dates, of which one holds the team’s title defense fate.
“Siguro we shouldn’t settle for our movement right now. Kailangan hanap pa kami ng mga kulang namin. ‘Yung communication, ‘yung gelling as a team — we’ll work it out sa training namin,” she said.
Dy, Mau and the Cargo Movers eye a return trip to the Finals when they take on second-seed Cignal on Tuesday in the knockout semifinals.
(Image from Facebook/F2 Logistics)