Has Coach Meneses found the right antidote for another podium finish?

Don’t miss the FIVB VNL 2019!

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

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

  • Signed up Kseniya Kocyigit and Nickole Del Rio as imports
  • Lost Nickole Del Rio to injury during their first game against Sta. Lucia
  • Signed up former Bureau of Customs Transformers reinforcement Kanjana Kuthaisong to replace Del Rio
  • Started 1-6 in the first round of the preliminaries
  • Finished 6th after the preliminaries with a 4-10 win-loss record
  • Took PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters to a sudden-death game before stumbling out of the Quarterfinals

Kaya Ko!

That is the mantra used by the Generika Ayala Lifesavers during the PSL Grand Prix and with an intact roster full of effective role players such as Fiola Ceballos, team captain Angeli Araneta, Ria Meneses, Patty Orendain, Bia General and Jamie Lavitoria, the team of head coach Sherwin Meneses believes that they can overcome the odds and create a buzz in the Grand Prix.

And that they did as they signed up two imports that turned out to be the perfect complement the Lifesavers were looking for to finally get them over the hump of the PSL Grand Prix. These are Brazilian national Nickole Del Rio and Azerbaijan national Kseniya Kocyigit which played key roles to Generika Ayala’s roller coaster tournament.

What went wrong?

During the first round of the preliminaries, the Lifesavers were having problems on how to close a match. In their six losses in the preliminaries, three of them went to five grueling sets that could have gone to their side. It was just the breaks of the game that carried them to that slide.

Also, the injury to Del Rio was a major blow for the Lifesavers. Even though we were not able to see what she can truly bring to the table for the Lifesavers,  what if she did not get injured in their game against Sta. Lucia? Could she be the antidote Meneses is looking to get the Lifesavers over the hump? Those can be the what ifs, but what’s done is done, and a bright positive came in at the right time for the Lifesavers.

What went right?

When we say bright positive, we are talking about the Thailand national Kanjana Kuthaisong. The former player of Meneses back when he was coaching the Bureau of Customs Transformers in the Shakey’s V.League was what the doctor ordered for the Lifesavers during their time of trouble in the tournament. Kuthaisong scored a total of 237 points with an average of 18.2 ppg in her stint with the Lifesavers. Truly, a gem of a find for Meneses and the rest of the coaching staff of Generika Ayala.

The production of the locals. It has been an open book that the local production of the Lifesavers is one of the toughest to crack. One game, it will be Ceballos, the next it will be Araneta, the next it will be Orendain. There is no definite weapon to watch for in this Generika Ayala squad. And it is not just the spikers that upped their game in the tournament, even the game of both Lavitoria and General have greatly improved in the tournament.

Lavitoria, who became the starting setter for the Lifesavers in the middle of the tournament, has blossomed in to one of the best ball distributors in the league as she finished one game with a season-high 38 excellent sets. As for General, who became the starting libero due to Kath Arado playing for UE in the UAAP, she has now became a main defensive stopper for the Lifesavers. It’s as if Arado did not take a break from the team with her overwhelming stats. The former NU Lady Bulldog finished on top of the digs and receptions category with 393 and 186 respectively.

What should they do?

With a practically intact strong local line-up that won the bronze in last year’s All-Filipino conference, the sky is the limit for the Lifesavers. And now with the addition of former PSL Collegiate Grand Slam 2nd best outside spiker Mean Mendrez to the stacked Lifesavers, there is nowhere to go but up.

As such, the Meneses and the Lifesavers need to continue their cohesivenes in order to duplicate their success from last season and believe that “Kaya Ko” for them to reach that goal of once again sit a top of the podium of the PSL.

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