The PayMaya High Flyers didn’t start the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Finals on the right note, as the Creamline Cool Smashers drew first blood, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 25, in their best-of-three championship series.
PayMaya Coach Roger Gorayeb summed up his team’s performance in Game 1: “Alam mo ang problema sa amin yung nilaro namin kanina parang hindi championship yung laro namin. Parang mas maganda pa ang mga nilaro namin sa previous games, bakbakan talaga eh.”
The High Flyers barely looked like the group that finished off BanKo Perlas Pilipinas, despite being in the same position during the semis. They also had their back against the wall after the opener, before displaying resilience to win two straight games and advance to the title round versus Creamline.
If the debuting squad hopes to recover from that painful loss, beat the Cool Smashers for the first time this conference, and capture the PVL trophy in their maiden season, they should learn from their humbling defeat and make the necessary adjustments.
Up-tempo gives them the edge
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila, ‘Wag nyo sabayan ang laro,’” Gorayeb was quoted post-game. “Medyo mabagal yung laro ng Creamline kanina eh.” It’s up to PayMaya to hit the ground running with their high-octane assault. They shouldn’t let the Cool Smashers dictate the pace of the match, and this will only be possible with smoother execution and smarter reads. Speeding things up will only bode well for the team.
Take care of every possession
The High Flyers giving up 29 points off errors, mostly in pivotal moments, just won’t cut it. They cannot afford to commit simple mistakes when playing against a dangerous squad like Creamline, which easily pounced on those momentum-changing lapses. Alyssa Valdez didn’t even play great (18) and still can’t be stopped. This is connected to the previous entry, particularly in having an airtight performance.
Other High Flyers have to step up
Tess Rountree (26 in Game 1) and Grethcel Soltones (11) aren’t enough to counter the three-headed attack of Valdez, Kuttika Kaewin (19), and Laura Schaudt (13). Expect Jasmine Nabor to double the production (16 excellent sets) in her next outing. Whether it’s Jerrili Malabanan or Shelby Sullivan, PayMaya needs a couple of its spikers to elevate their game and carry out the needed back row attacks and combination plays.
Show energy, sense of urgency
Gorayeb said in jest, “Alam mo kasi di ko malaman kung ano, para kaming nakulam.” He isn’t even exaggerating. The match was tied at 1 set apiece after the first half, but the Cool Smashers clearly looked fresher than the High Flyers the rest of the way. Case in point: the former had seven more kill blocks than the latter (12 to 5). PayMaya had more than two days to rest and regroup before a decisive Game 2 on Wednesday.
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