Losing National Team setter Kim Fajardo midway through the 2019 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix could have been detrimental for F2 Logistics, had they not had Alex Cabanos.
The University of Santo Tomas standout then stepped up and kept the Cargo Movers afloat in the elimination round, well enough for a second-seed berth in the playoffs.
Still, Cabanos has had her rough patches, most recently struggling in Game One of the semifinals against PLDT.
F2 Logistics head coach Ramil De Jesus admitted that consistency has been Cabanos’ problem. He added that it could have been the source of frustration from some teammates, including import Lindsay Stalzer.
“Wala akong problema sa spikers. Problema ko talaga since nawala si Fajardo yung pagiging consistent ni Cabanos. May mga times na okay yung set, may mga times na minsan hindi umaabot sa spikers. Minsan nafu-frustrate yung spikers… Yun yung isang kailangang solusyunan habang naglalaro,” said De Jesus, who had coached Cabanos in high school with La Salle-Zobel.
“Noong second set, nafu-frustrate na siya (Stalzer). Ayaw niya na paluin ‘yung bola. Sabi ko na lang na we need her maturity and leadership as an import so siguro doon siya nagising. Pagdating noong third set, iba na ‘yung kinilos. Minsan talaga, hindi natin maiwasan na gustong pumalo, hindi mo mapalo ‘yung bola. Mahirap kasi sa spikers na ‘di mo alam kung saan tataas ‘yung bola,” De Jesus added of Stalzer, who finished with 29 points against PLDT.
The Cargo Movers are near their third straight Grand Prix Finals, and Cabanos is happy to have contributed to F2 Logistics’ success.
“Masaya rin kasi we’re getting there sa goal namin. We just have to continue practicing and keep working on ourselves para prepared kami for anything,” the 25-year-old Cabanos said.
The adjustment has been difficult, particularly the need to keep the pressure of F2 Logistics’ success off her mind.
“Everyone’s not making it hard. Talagang tinututukan din talaga ako ni coach to get to know everyone. Walang sawa din talaga ‘yung teammates ko with reminding me na may tiwala sila sa akin. ‘Wag lang din daw ako mawalan ng tiwala sa sarili ko para matulungan sila,” the 5-foot-6 playmaker said.
“That’s what they’ve been telling constantly: I have to stop thinking that. It’s always a new season. We’re coming into the season fighting for every win. ‘Wag naming isipin na big deal ‘yung pressure, but always keep in mind na have pride kasi F2 pa rin kami.”