Imports key to PSL Finals
The championship of the 2018 Chooks-to-Go Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix which begins on May 1 at Smart Araneta Coliseum will be decided by import scoring and the defense played on them.
It’s inevitable in an import-laden conference that the players from overseas will dominate the action. They bring height, athleticism and a skills set honed by high levels of international play. They will be the main points of attack and the ones that must be marked by the defense.
The F2 Logistics Cargo Movers return to the Finals after stopping the Foton Tornadoes in the semifinals. Their main import weapon is Venezuelan national team player Maria Jose Perez. Perez is a returnee to the F2 fold and is clearly accustomed to her teammates and, more importantly, Kim Fajardo’s sets.
The other F2 import is Kennedy Bryan. She seems content being forgotten by the defense on the other side but that is when she can be most lethal. Fajardo just knows when to swing the ball to Bryan when the opposing blockers are preoccupied with Perez and other attackers.
Petron took care of Cocolife in two semifinal games and is looking to cap its successful conference with a title. Frequent Manila visitor Lindsay Stalzer is as reliable as ever but now gets ample support from the prolific Katherine Bell.
The defense to neutralize these scoring imports will have to be consistently in place during the Finals. F2 is known as a resilient blocking team and this will be put to good use against Stalzer and Bell. On the other hand, Petron needs to be equally tireless at the net and alert to where the ball is on every point.
The liberos (who are imports as well) will play significant roles for the floor defense. Petron’s Yuri Fukuda is a crowd favorite with her post-point motivating antics, while F2’s Minami Yoshioka is a picture of quiet consistency.
The Filipino players will also be vital to the championship effort, especially the setters. Fajardo and Petron’s Rhea Dimaculangan are two of the best in the land and it will fall on their fingers how the ball is properly distributed.
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