6 PayMaya and Creamline Volleybelles to keep an eye on in the PVL Finals
7/7/18 9:00 AM
After the dust settled, the Top 2 teams of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Season 2 Reinforced Conference will face each other in the best-of-three Finals’ Winners Battle.
The second-ranked PayMaya High Flyers (5-2) and top-seeded Creamline Cool Smashers (6-1) both overcame a 0-1 series deficit against BanKo Perlas Spikers and Pocari-Air Force, respectively, in the semifinals, to advance to the championship duel. Creamline may have beaten debuting PayMaya in the preliminary round (25-18, 25-23, 25-19), but the playoffs are a completely different story, especially with a title at stake. Case in point: BanKo also defeated the High Flyers in their initial meeting, but look what happened.
Some fans are looking forward to the battle of wits between PayMaya coach Roger Gorayeb and Cool Smashers mentor Tai Bundit, but most of them will focus on how their favorite players can lead their team to glory. These volleybelles below will decide the fate of their respective squads in the coming week.
It’s astonishing to think that the Best Import frontrunner still managed to elevate her play—tournament-leading 23.7 points per game in the preliminaries to 34.3—when it mattered the most. The American reinforcement fended off the two-pronged attack of BanKo’s foreign guest player duo by scoring 30+ in each of their semis matches.
After a quiet stretch in the early going, the Lady Beast has regained her deadly form. It helps that Soltones is finally healthy again; she was clutch and solid versus the Perlas Spikers, putting up 16, season-high 22, and 16 markers, throughout the series. The outside hitter is out there proving why she’s a three-time NCAA MVP.
This year’s finals will feature two of the most decorated setters in the country. PayMaya will have the luxury of last year’s PVL Collegiate Conference Finals MVP, who registered for 41 excellent sets in the winner-take-all. While Rountree and Soltones will have their usual big games, Nabor will be the championship X factor.
The best group in the league after the first round prides itself on its balanced attack. The Thailand women’s national team member posted a steady line of 14-14-15 against Pocari in the semis, but she will have to do a whole lot more to match the output of a superstar like Rountree.
Valdez bounced back from a subpar Game 1 vs Air Force (6 pts), and led the Cool Smashers in scoring (16 and 15) the rest of the way. The Phenom has the ability to dominate, but doesn’t need to with Creamline’s surplus of talent. That might have to change against the High Flyers, though.
Like her rival Nabor, the multi-awarded setter only showed up in their own do-or-die, with 29 excellent sets. But unlike their semifinal foes, PayMaya isn’t hampered by injuries and has momentum, so Morado and the rest of the Cool Smashers have to play great every time they step on the court.
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