AFTER a four-year hiatus from competitive volleyball, Cha Cruz-Behag looked like she never left in F2 Logistics' rollercoaster debut win against PLDT in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Conference.
Although she only scored three points in the two-hour, 43-minute match, Cruz-Behag's leadership qualities shone through in the Cargo Movers' 25-22, 25-21, 14-25, 20-25, 16-14 win over the High Speed Hitters on Tuesday at PhilSports Arena.
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Leading two sets to none, the Cargo Movers found themselves in uncharted territory and trailed 5-13 in the third salvo. The 34-year-old open spiker came off the bench and immediately stopped PLDT's 9-1 run.
Although PLDT went on to win the third set, 14-25, Cruz-Behag started in the fourth and deciding sets when F2 Logistics wrapped up its first win of the season.
New head coach Regine Diego, Cruz-Behag and then-rookie Aby Marano played for De La Salle under former F2 Logistics head coach Ramil De Jesus in UAAP Season 72 in 2009. That connection was again palpable in this game.
"Of all the people in F2, pinakamatagal kong nakasama is siyempre Cha and Aby. So I trust na they know what to do, because they're mature already. They have the leadership skills," Diego said of the former and present captain of the Cargo Movers.
"So tama 'yung napili ko doon sa crucial points, 'cause I know na magli-lead sila. 'Pag na-lead ng maayos 'yung team, doon lalabas talaga na maayos 'yung team. So I'm happy na I have so many leaders in my team now," she added.
Cruz-Behag was happy to pull off the close win, but knows this match must challenge the Cargo Movers to plug holes in their offense and defense patterns.
"Happy kami. A win is a win, pero siyempre, ang dami pa naming lapses na kailangan namin i-improve. This is just the start of the conference, ang dami pa naming pagdadaanan and ang dami pang mga kalaban," she said.
On a more personal note, the former De La Salle standout is staying patient after playing in only his first competitive volleyball match since 2019.
"It's a process. Hindi naman overnight - ah, four years nawala, pero nandiyan na. Alam ko, ang dami ko ring errors sa loob. Pero I think I still need to [work] double time every day, which is I'm really trying my best every training na makabalik," she said.
The Cargo Movers will look to stay in the winning column when they face Akari on Saturday at the PhilSports Arena.