Keys to victory: Creamline vs PayMaya, BanKo vs Pocari Sweat
After a thrilling quarterfinal round, the Final Four of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference will finally commence on Sunday.
After league leaders Creamline and PayMaya put up stellar campaigns in the preliminaries to earn semifinals berths, Pocari Sweat-Air Force and BanKo followed suit after two weeks of playoff actions.
Here’s to watch out for in the best-of-three semifinals:
Both Creamline and defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force are teams that are loaded with talent both in terms of local and foreign players but what separates these two teams from the rest of the league are the three stars between them.
Creamline has national players Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado while the Lady Warriors have Myla Pablo.
Making thins even more interesting is that Pablo and Valdez play the same position, outside hitter, and the two are the two top scoring locals after the preliminaries.
Valdez is the at the top of the scoring list among local players having amassed a total of 118 points while Pablo is not far behind with 116.
There’s also a key matchup between the setters as Morado will face Pocari’s two playmakers in Wendy Seman and Gena Andaya.
Morado puts up an average of 7.58 excellent sets per set, the second-best mark in the league, while Andaya and Semana combine for 7.14 per set.
Youth vs. Experience
As with the matchup in the other semifinal series, the one between PayMaya and BanKo also has an encompassing theme—age.
The Perlas Spikers are some of the most experienced players in the league while the High Flyers are on the other end of the spectrum with most of their players either still in college or have just graduated.
BanKo has three players who are at least 30-years-old—Rysabelle Devanadera, captain Sue Roces, and Thai import Jutarat Montripila—and the whole team have an average age of 27 years.
PayMaya, meanwhile, doesn’t have a single player in the 30-year-old range with 29-year-old Lizlee Ann Pantone the oldest of the bunch.
The High Flyers have three teenagers in 19-year-olds Angelica Cayuna, captain Jasmine Nabor, and Celine Domingo.