MANILA, Philippines — Aby Maraño’s storied career comes full circle as F2 Logistics finally makes its Premier Volleyball League debut against her former team Black Mamba-Army on Wednesday at the Paco Arena.
After skipping their supposed PVL season debut last year due to several injuries, Maraño and the Cargo Movers enter a new battle field, raising the curtains of the 2022 Open Conference at 3 pm.
It is going to be a special day for the 29-year-old middle blocker, who is coming back to the pioneering volleyball league for the first time in seven years since she last played for the defunct Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference 2015.
What makes it extra special for the longtime women’s national team member is the Cargo Movers facing the Lady Troopers, the last team she played in the Sports Vision-organized league.
“This is very special since this is my first time to compete here after so many years. But what makes it extra special is that I am with F2,” said the former La Salle stalwart. “For the longest time, we played in a different league. But at least, all the teams are now in one league and we get to compete against players with varying talent and skills.”
Although Army is missing the services of star hitter Jovelyn Gonzaga and Nene Bautista due to their duties as Philippine women’s beach volleyball pool members, Maraño is not underestimating the mix of veteran players, led by Honey Royse Tubino, Ging Balse-Pabayo and Tin Agno, and young guns Mich Morente, Necole Ebuen, Aiko Urdas and Ivy Perez.
“Army’s core has been playing together for a long time. They are a champion team with a lot of experienced players. We can’t afford to be complacent in playing against them even without Jovelyn. They have a mix of veterans and fresh players with experience,” she said.
F2 Logistics won five titles in the Philippine Superliga from 2016 to 2019 before it decided to transfer to the PVL March last year but backed out days before the 2021 Open Conference due to several injured players.
The 5-foot-8 middle blocker is leading an intact F2 Logistics core also bannered by stars Majoy Baron, Kianna Dy, Ara Galang, Tin Tiamzon, Kim Fajardo and Dawn Macandili.
The Cargo Movers won’t have Filipino-American Kalei Mau on their side due to her US pro stint in Athletes Unlimited also taking place this month and they also lost Desiree Cheng and Aduke Ogunsanya, who both transferred to Choco Mucho in free agency.
But the reigning Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League titlist was able to plug in the holes with the signings of ex Ateneo star Dzi Gervacio, former NCAA MVP Shola Alvarez and Fil-Am setter Iris Tolenada.
F2 Logistics is grouped in Pool A with defending champion Chery Tiggo, Cignal, Choco Mucho and Army. The top two teams will advance in the quarterfinals with twice-to-beat incentives, while the No.5 seed will be eliminated.
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