If there’s a team who can go head-to-head against defending champions Petron, it would be its perennial rival F2 Logistics.
The past five Philippine Superliga (PSL) indoor conferences saw the Cargo Movers and the Blaze Spikers vying for the throne, with the latter edging the former in the saga, 2-3.
Playing systematic volleyball designed by decorated guru Ramil de Jesus, F2 Logistics has the right tools to stop Petron from going as back-to-back Grand Prix champions.
The three-time PSL gold medalists boast a stacked lineup made up of UAAP multi-champions and national team campaigners Cha Cruz-Behag, Aby Maraño, Majoy Baron, Kim Fajardo, Kim Dy and Dawn Macandili plus do-it-all spikers Ara Galang, Mich Morente and Fritz Gallenero.
With Lindsay Stalzer and Rebecca Perry, the de Jesus-backed squad easily has the best potential of challenging Petron, who re-acquired potent hitters Stephanie Niemer and Katherine Bell.
But while the Blaze Spikers seemed to be a shoo-in for the finals of the PSL Grand Prix 2019, the climb for the Cargo Movers may not be as easy as it looks like on paper.
For one, they lost the services of Michelle Cobb, Des Cheng, May Luna, Tin Tiamzon, Aduke Ogunsanya and CJ Saga as they resume their duties for the DLSU Lady Spikers in the UAAP Season 81.
Suiting up for the F2 Logistics is simply not possible for the La Salle players as the Grand Prix and the UAAP will run simultaneously.
De Jesus, though, will coach the two teams at the same time, heading to a daunting task of steering two teams who are both contenders in their respective leagues.
Another problem that de Jesus needs to deal with are the minor injuries that continue to plague Behag, Dy, Galang and Fajardo.
Stalzer, meanwhile, has yet to arrive in the country from her stint in Indonesia with Jakarta BNI46 in the Indonesia Women’s Proliga.
As salve to the wound, F2 Logistics lured Alex Cabanos from Creamline, Klarisa Abriam of CSB, and Bien Janillo of Lyceum.
For the meantime, Perry would have to double her efforts as the Behag-skippered squad awaits for the full recovery of its player and the arrival of Stalzer.
The 30-year-old Perry is capable of doing so, having played in various high-end leagues overseas, with her stint in Puerto Rico as the most remarkable after exploding for 43 points in a single match, shattering a scoring record there.
But once all the chinks in their armor are fixed, expect a dangerous F2 Logistics squad as it eyes to add another title under their belt.
After all, they have been in worse situations, and champions that they are, they will sure find ways to emerge as victors at all cost — the patented F2 Logistics way.
(Photo courtesy of Philippine Superliga Facebook page)