By: Ohmer Bautista
Although it came a game after F2 Logistics’ PSL All Filipino Conference opener, newly-acquired Kalei Mau finally made her debut.
And the 6-foot-2 Wing Spiker did not disappoint.
Mau poured in a game-high 17 points – 14 of which came from spikes – to go along 14 excellent digs and eight excellent receptions. To make it even sweeter, the Cargo Movers zoomed to a 2-0 start after gutting out a tight three-setter against the gritty PLDT Home Fibr side.
“I couldn’t have dreamt a more perfect match with my new team than tonight,” the Fil-Hawaiian pro beamed.
“It was better than I expected.”
Mau was instrumental all game long. She delivered the goods in the opening salvo to give her team an early advantage. When the game swung to a back-and-forth second and third sets, she provided the differential hits to break her team loose from multiple deadlocks.
Though she has only started training with the Cargo Movers for a couple of days, the 24-year-old can already see the beauty of playing under Ramil De Jesus’ system.
“I love it,” she gushed. “This guy gives me some really great feedback that I really can take in and think about to improve my game, and I think I adjusted to what he was telling me throughout the game.
“So, I really like playing for him.”
For De Jesus’ part, he likes Mau’s ability to defend and her flexibility to make adjustments on the fly.
“Malaking marunong dumepensa. Hindi takot ihagis yung katawan niya,” the decorated mentor said of Mau.
“Open naman siya sa lahat ng suggestions sa kanya, and then kung ano yung pwede idagdag sa mga ginagawa niya sa loob open naman siya doon.”
But despite the short time she has had to train with F2 Logistics so far, what made Mau’s transition even smoother is the capability of her team’s setters to adapt to her style of play.
As she put it, “The most important thing I think is definitely with my setters, Alex [Cabanos] and Mich [Cobb]. They’ve been doing such a great job trying to adjust with me.
“I have such a different style of play. I play at a higher trajectory on the net so definitely, I’m super thankful that they’re able to adjust and they’re being versatile for me; and I’m going to continue to adjust as best as I can for them,” she added.
Now that she has finally gotten her feet wet in a yellow and red jersey, Mau admitted she feels no pressure playing as a Cargo Mover for the first time. Instead, as she stressed, the pressure lay when she was looking for a team to suit her style.
“No, there was actually no pressure,” she confided. “The pressure was finding a team, a good team that I was going to be comfortable with.
“And I found that already and now, it’s just for fun for me like I like coming out here and working out with these girls.”