F2 Logistics coach Ramil De Jesus said he was very proud of the Cargo Movers for showing toughness when it mattered most, overcoming a loaded Petron side to win the Philippine Superliga Invitational crown.
De Jesus had lamented the Cargo Movers poor performance early in the conference, squandering their outright semifinals chances and failing to sweep Pool A after losing to Petron in their preliminary game.
Even when F2 Logistics bounced back and beat Sta. Lucia Realty in the knockout quarterfinals and ousted Cignal in the semifinals, De Jesus said he was not convinced.
“Sa akin naman, basta may tournament, nandito para i-guide 'yung mga bata para ma-push sila sa limit nila. Kung meron pang gusto idagdag 'yung bata, kung may space pa for improvement, gagawin namin 'yun,” said the 11-time UAAP champion coach of De La Salle after winning his third PSL title.
“Nireremind ko rin lang naman sila kapag bumababa 'yung performance nila. Gumawa ka ng pangalan, pero hindi pwedeng bababa sa ganyan 'yung level mo,” he added.
De Jesus admitted he felt a bit of a scare during the finals.
“‘Yung start ng first set, hindi talaga kami nananalo ng first set sa Petron, kahit noong elimination. First time namin kanina. Noong second set, noong nakahabol sila, akala ko nga mawawalan na ng momentum,” De Jesus said.
“Buti na lang, 'yung mga bata hindi nawalan ng loob kasi alam nilang championship. Sabi ko nga both teams are skilled, so magkakatalo na lang sa heart and mental toughness sa loob ng court. Siguro, naging advantage namin na mas gusto namin manalo,” he added.
F2 also has some advantage with the core — past and present La Salle stars Most Valuable Player Ara Galang, Best Setter Kim Fajardo, Best Libero Dawn Macandili and 2nd Best Middle Blocker Majoy Baron as well as Aby Maraño, Cha Cruz-Behag and Kianna Dy — very familiar with De Jesus’ system.
Even Michelle Morente, a transferee from their rival school Ateneo de Manila, was able to adapt the system of De Jesus and played a key role in the finals.
“‘Yun lang siguro ang advantage namin kasi sila nag-start sa akin since rookie year nila sa college hanggang ngayon,” he shard.
“Kilalang-kilala mo kung ano 'yung kaya at hindi kaya, kung meron o walang problema. Madali nang nasusolusyunan. Importante din na naniniwala sila sa sistema. Kung hindi sila naniniwala, wala mahihirapan kami manalo.”