Spelman takes PSL by storm

All Hayley Spelman needed was just one game to make a lasting impression. Shortly after announcing her arrival with a 30-point explosion for F2 Logistics against an equally dangerous Cignal squad in the 2016 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix on Thursday, Spelman is now the talk of the town due to her power, ability and determination to deliver under extreme pressure.

In fact, several imports are reportedly privately talking, plotting a surefire way to stop this 6-foot-7 gem of an opposite hitter from doing damage when they compete against the Cargo Movers.

Foton import Lindsay Stalzer said with Spelman around, they are now more motivated to get better, knowing that F2 Logistics will be unstoppable with her spearheading its offensive assault.

Spelman is no stranger to local volleyball fans.

Just few weeks ago, she powered Altay Vista VC of Kazakhstan to a fourth-place finish in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan City.

Although she wasn’t given heavy minutes, Stalzer said she knows Spelman is such a special talent.

[quote]I’ve seen her play in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship last September. She’s a tall player, but I think if we play tougher and deny her those perfect sets then we can control her.[/quote]

Spelman said the key to her impressive performance was her ability to adapt to her local teammates, who are just fresh from winning the UAAP women’s volleyball and PSL All-Filipino Conference titles.

[quote]Volleyball is all about adapting. I just did my best and adapted while the game was going on. We just wanted to win as badly as they do and I think we still have to get better in the next few games.[/quote]

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Only target

Unearthing a gem in Spelman wasn’t a stroke of luck. Insiders claimed that assistant coach Benson Bocboc spent a lot of time watching and evaluating her during the AVC tournament before the Cargo Movers finally decided to tap her.

But negotiations took quite a long time to materialize, prompting Spelman to miss the Cargo Movers’ first two games before the league took a three-week break to give way for the country’s hosting of the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship last month.

[quote]Hayley was really the target of F2 Logistics right from the start. She was heavily scouted by the coaches during the AVC and they were very impressed. She is tall, mobile and very athletic. She also has an impressive floor defense, something which coach Ramil (de Jesus) would want for an import.[/quote]

True enough, Spelman was worth the wait. Against Cignal, she was all over the court and dominated on both ends to steer the Cargo Movers to a 21-25, 25-11, 24-26, 25-18, 15-11 win over the HD Spikers, who were battered by Lynda Morales and Laura Schaudt with Janine Marciano, Paneng Mercado, Cherry Vivas and the returning Venus Bernal backstopping the offense.

She finished the night with 23 kills, two blocks, five aces and thousands of impressed volleyball fans.

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Work in progress

F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus said they remain a work in progress, especially with reigning Most Valuable Player Dawn Macandili playing away from her comfort zone due to her academics.

He said while their attacks are already on point, they still have to polish their floor defense to contend against the league’s elite teams like Petron and Foton.

[quote]Although our attacks are already evident, we still need to polish our floor defense. It still seems that we don’t know each other yet. I think we still have to jell more.[/quote]

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De Jesus noted that the core of import Sydney Kemper, Mika Reyes, Kim Dy, Aby Marano and Cha Cruz must maintain their impressive form if they want to make a serious run in this tournament where the champion will gain the right to represent the country in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship next year in Chinese Taipei.

And Spelman would definitely be at the helm.

[quote]The team needs Spelman. She serves as our go to the A.[/quote]

Spelman may have arrived two games late for F2 Logistics. But with her impressive performance, all the anxiousness, all the patience are worth it.

After all, she’s really as good as advertised.

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