F2 Logistics star Aby Maraño gears up for sweet revenge as the Cargo Movers take on the Petron Blaze Spikers in the best-of-three Finals of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference, which fires off on Thursday at the Arena in San Juan City.
For the seven-time Best Middle Blocker of the league, their heartbreaking Game Three Grand Prix Finals downfall to the Blaze Spikers last summer will be their main motivation in the fourth installment of F2 Logistics-Petron finale in the PSL.
“Nandoon 'yun. Kumbaga, isa 'yun sa paghuhugutan mo,” Maraño said. “Isa 'yun sa dahilan para mag-push ka at mabawi niyo 'yung pagkatalo sa Grand Prix. Pero, hindi naman siya big deal na nilalamon na kami ng pait na 'yun.”
The last time F2 Logistics faced Petron, in the 2018 Grand Prix Finals, they missed the entire core of De La Salle bannered by head coach Ramil De Jesus and the troika of Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili due to their UAAP duties that saw them complete an amazing three-peat run in Season 80.
Now that the current Lady Spikers are back to help their alumni, Maraño, a former UAAP MVP, is glad to have a stronger and younger company once again in facing the stacked Blaze Spikers.
But for her, it all boils down to the desire in winning the Invitational supremacy.
“Sa tingin ko nasa kagustuhan na 'yan manalo. Sa skills kasi, parehas naman nandiyan,” the former De La Salle star said. “Kung sino 'yung makakapagbigay nang mas malaking puso sa paglalaro, 'yung papasok sa loob ng court na ayaw magpatalo, 'yun na talaga 'yun. Kung sino 'yung team na maisasakatapuran 'yung kagustuhan manalo, 'yun na talaga.”
“Hindi mo kasi masusukat kung sino sa aming dalawa kasi palitan talaga kami dito sa PSL. Mahirap sabihin kung gaano kalaki 'yung puso namin kontra sa puso nila. Magkaka-alaman tayo sa laban,” she added.
F2 Logistics is eyeing its third overall championship and second title series win against Petron. The Cargo Movers only bagged one title, the 2017 Grand Prix championship, in their three epic Finals duel with the Blaze Spikers, who won two titles against them in the 2017 All-Filipino and 2018 Grand Prix.
Maraño and the Cargo Movers, however, have to deal with their coach’s call to get their acts back together before going to an all-out war with the Blaze Spikers again.
“Okay lang naman sa kung anuman 'yung opinion ni coach,” the national team captain said. “Kami naman, kailangan namin sumunod. Kung may problema kami o sa performance namin, willing kami matuto. Kung anuman 'yung sabihin ni coach, tanggap namin nang maluwag sa puso.”
The current PSL Ambassador admits that De Jesus was right and they have not been in good form over their past games.
“Hindi rin kami satisfied sa kinikilos namin. Siguro nga, dahil maraming may iniinda. May mga galing sakit. Pero hindi namin dapat gawing dahilan 'yun,” she confessed. “Sabi nga ni coach, kung meron kang nararamdaman, unahin mo 'yung team. Kung makakasagabal 'yun sa paglalaro 'yung marami kang iniisip, isan'tabi mo muna.”
As they brace for another rivalry battle against Petron, the 5-foot-9 middle blocker vows one thing for F2 Logistics.
“So ngayon, pina-promise namin na unti-unti kaming makabalik sa training,” she concluded.