F2 Logistics came away with the win in a showdown against RC Cola Army that looked more like a finals preview, but both Cargo Movers coach Ramil de Jesus and setter Kim Fajardo walked away amazed at the ageless wonder of the Lady Troopers, Tina Salak.
The La Salle-powered F2 Logistics won the five-set thriller over Army, 25-22, 25-14, 21-25, 26-28, 15-10, in the Philippine Super Liga All Filipino Conference on Saturday at the jampacked The Arena in San Juan.
The Cargo Movers looked to end the match in straight sets when Lady Troopers coach Kungfu Reyes fielded in Tina Salak, who was sparingly used in the first set and benched in the second set.
It turned out to be a key move that started the turnaround for RC Cola, according to de Jesus.
“Siguro nagbalasa ng tao si coach Kungfu at saka kilala naman natin si Tina eh. Tina Salak talaga iba na ‘yun,” said the nine-time UAAP champion, who has never hidden his admiration for Salak.
The former Far Eastern University standout, who turns 40 on August 10, not only provided the Lady Troopers with 32 excellent sets and six points, including two blocks, she also gave her teammates the extra motivation and push just when they were being beaten up by a younger opponent.
“Siya na ang nagmani-obra, nagtimon ng isang team so ‘yung mahirap na bola, napapadali niya para sa spikers so doon kami medyo nahirapan mag-adjust,” de Jesus said.
Meanwhile, Salak’s F2 Logistics counterpart Fajardo had nothing but good words for her ‘idol’ after their first PSL showdown.
“Sobrang idol ko ‘yun eh,” said Fajardo of Salak. “Kanina habang naglalaro ako, pinapanood ko siya kung paano niya dine-deliver yung bola sa mga teammates niya, sa mga spikers niya saka yung never-say-die attitude.”
“Maganda ang balikan kanina, maganda ang rally pero nandoon ang focus niya. Alam niya kung kanino ibibigay at kabisado niya ang kasama niya,” she added.
The FIVB World Club Women’s Championship-bound Fajardo could not help but be in awe of Salak’s ways that she even tried to study how the Army corporal makes volleyball look so easy during the match.
“May mga sets siya na mataas, tapos mababa, ganyan nya kakabisado ang team niya. Siguro 'yun ang pinakamaganda sa kanya,” said Fajardo.
“Kasi importante sa aming (mga setters) na kilala mo ang mga spikers mo, kasi ‘yun nga doon mo malalaman kung anong gusto nila. By that, doon mo matutulungan ang team mo na maka-point, manalo,” she added.