Can the Twin towers tow the Tornadoes back to the top of the PSL mountain?

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Don’t miss the FIVB VNL 2019!

Watch all 260 games of the best men & womens international volleyball online - LIVE & on-demand!

PSL Grand Prix review

  • Lost Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat to the Japanese V.League
  • Signed up Courtney Felinski and Selime Ilyasoglu as Imports
  • Started the tournament with a five-set win against United Volleball Club
  • Went on a franchise-worst 11-game losing streak
  • Replaced Ilyasoglu with Spanish open hitter Milagros Collar
  • Santiago sisters returned to help break the losing streak with a four-set win against Sta. Lucia
  • Finished 7th after the preliminaries with a 3-11 win-loss record
  • Took F2 Logistics to a sudden-death game before stumbling out of the Quarterfinals

Beware, a tornado is coming soon!

It has been like that kind of a season for the two-time PSL Grand Prix champion. With a strong local squad led by national team standouts Jaja Santiago, Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Maika Ortiz, former NU Lady Bulldogs Carmina Aganon, Jen Reyes and Ivy Perez, Shaya Adorador, Gen Casugod, Elaine Kasilag, Gyselle Sy and CJ Rosario. If you look at that, this can match-up with any commercial squad.

And with a young up and coming mentor in Aaron Velez, the Tornadoes are on the right track. But before the season started, the Santiago sisters tried their luck in Japanese V.League thus making them miss most of the PSL Grand Prix. As such, the Tornadoes signed up American reinforcement Courtney Felinski and Turkish import Selime Ilyasoglu to cover up the loss of their two main weapons.

What went wrong?

Even if the Tornadoes won their initial game against the United Volleyball Club, they went on a drought. A drought that would make or break their season. As such the story was a 11-game losing streak. The energy was not there and the total team effort was missing.

Also, Ilyasoglu was ineffective for the Tornadoes. After scoring 19 points in their opening game win, the Turkish national scored a total of 63 points six games thus giving her an average of 10.5 ppg, the second lowest among all imports in the tournament. As such with the locals missing and Ilyasoglu missing, the Tornadoes went on a downward spiral in the season.

What went right?

The consistency of Courtney Felinski. During their 11-game losing streak, Felinski is the only bright spot for the Tornadoes. The former Georgia Institute of Technology open spiker scored a total of 198 points in the losing streak averaging 18 ppg. In their four victories including their game one quarterfinals victory against F2, the 27-year old scored 77 points with an average of 19.25 ppg. Good thing that Spanish spiker Milagros Collar came in replace Ilyasoglu thus making life easier for Felinski.

Another positive for the Tornadoes is the fine play of the queen libero, Jen Reyes. The three-time PSL best libero is making a case that she is still the queen of all liberos in the PSL as she has been getting those digs with high percentage. In total, the former NU Lady Bulldog currently has 291 excellent digs with a percentage of 59.2% which stands at second in ranking behind another former Lady Bulldog in Bia General. With numbers like that, it maybe a matter of time until the queen gets back her throne as the best in the PSL.

What should they do?

Cohesiveness. That is what these Tornadoes need to build around most especially with the All-Filipino tournament around the corner. With the Santiago sisters back, the local support needs to be consistent for them not to have the same results they had during the Grand Prix.

Velez’s work will be tested this off-season but for now, the Tornadoes need to work on having a one cohesive unit.

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