Face-off Fridays: PSL AFC vs. PVL Open 2018 Individual Awardees

Welcome to the first edition of Face-off Fridays. In this weekly article, we try to assess which teams will win hypothetical match-ups. We may feature real or dream volleyball teams and give our opinion as to which side might win. We respect the fact that reader’s opinion might differ from ours and you are free to share your thoughts on our social media outlets.

For the opening salvo, we’ll compare the individual award winners of the PVL Open Conference 2018 with their counterparts in the PSL All Filipino Cup. Aside from the occasional stats, we will only analyze based on their performances during the conferences mentioned above. Quality of opposition and over-all worth to her team’s campaign will also have much weight on who gets an edge.

We’ll compare both winners and choose which “team” has the edge in that match-up. Then, the team with more selections is assumed as winner. Thus, let the debate begin.

1st Best Outside Spiker – Alyssa Valdez vs. Rachel Anne Daquis

The former FEU Lady Tamaraw did have a solid conference with the Cignal HD Spikers and there were even times when she willed her teammates to fight. But for all the talent Daquis has, Valdez was once again in MVP form during the Open conference. While she did lead the league in points, she became more valuable when her scoring prowess allowed Creamline hitters to flourish in the championship series against Ateneo-Motolite.

Advantage: Alyssa Valdez

2nd Best Outside Spiker – Jema Galanza vs. Patty Orendain

Galanza did have a nice stretch of games late in the conference but I would have to give this to Patty Orendain. Aside from a stellar floor defense anchored on Kath Arado, the Generika Ayala Lifesavers might not take home the bronze medal if not for Orendain’s consistency. Her game does not make much noise. But you can count on her when the going gets tough. Likewise, I wonder how Galanza would fare without an Alyssa Valdez on her side.

Advantage: Patty Orendain

1st Best Middle Blocker – Maddie Madayag vs. Ria Meneses

The argument can be made about Meneses being the only imposing net minder for the Lifesavers. But I will give the edge to Madayag even though she had Kat Tolentino and Bea de Leon with her. The Lady Eagle had 38 kill blocks by the end of the PVL Open Conference eliminations while Meneses had 33 for the entire tournament. Her seven-block performance in Game 3 of their semifinal series against the Banko Perlas Spikers cements her cause.

Advantage: Maddie Madayag

2nd Best Middle Blocker – Kathy Bersola vs. Majoy Baron

No offense to Bersola but this goes to Baron. She could have been a strong candidate for All Filipino Conference MVP had F2 Logistics won the title. But beyond that possibility, the Cargo Movers had a strong case of winning whenever she dominated the middle. As for Banko Perlas, their offense is dominated by hitters Nicole Tiamzon, Amanda Villanueva, and Dzi Gervacio.

Advantage: Majoy Baron

Best Opposite Spiker – Kat Tolentino vs. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas

This is a tough call but this goes to Tolentino. Just imagine how different the campaign of the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles would be without her scoring heavily? Credit that to finally placing her in the position that suits her best. On the other hand, Maizo-Pontillas is worthy of the distinction. But if she misses a game, Petron’s immense firepower can cover for her.

Advantage: Kat Tolentino

Best Libero – Kath Arado vs. Cienne Cruz

The Petro Gazz libero does have some impressive stats at the end of the eliminations: second in digs with 254 and first in total excellent receptions with 216. But it’s hard to argue against Arado’s jaw-dropping defensive numbers for two teams that went third in their respective tournaments. She also pulled off playing for Generika Ayala roughly an hour after she suited up for the UE Lady Warriors. Tit for tat, it still is The Quick Cat.

Advantage: Kath Arado

Best Setter – Jia Morado vs. Kim Fajardo

This is a tricky comparison for the PSL essentially said that there are two Best Setters during the All-Filipino Conference. That begs the question: how can your Best Setter and your MVP (which is also a setter) be two different people? But in this case, I will stick to Fajardo because she was the one given the award. For their respective conference alone, the former Lady Eagle has the slight advantage. Morado is the rightful choice for Finals MVP with the way she distributed the ball to her attackers.

Advantage: Jia Morado

The final word

The PVL Open Conference 2018 individual award winners won by the slimmest of margins. But then again, you could have a different opinion than us and that’s fair with us. It would be better though if we can see these athletes play this game for real. This match could have several alternate endings that Doctor Strange might have seen.