While the PSL Grand Prix is often about the imports, we cannot deny that the local talent can still make or break a squad. Thus, here’s who we think are playing well and who are underperforming so far.
Patty Orendain (Generika-Ayala) – The tournament’s leading local scorer tallied 45 points in three games. The former University of St. La Salle standout has taken the load of being a primary option on offense since Brazilian import Nikolle Del Rio went down with a foot sprain injury. They may be winless so far but Orendain’s excellence cannot be disregarded. She will only continue to execute those hard kills to help her squad get victory number one.
Kalei Mau (UVC) – Where Kalei Mau goes, so does United Volleyball Club. The former University of Arizona open spiker continued where she left off last conference by scoring 17 points in a four-set loss to the Foton Tornadoes. She followed it up with 22 points in their come-from-behind win against the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors, eight of which came in the deciding fifth set.
Mylene Paat (Cignal) – After last conference’s Best Scorer scored one point against the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, Paat was placed in the starting unit and she did not disappont. The former Adamson Lady Falcon exploded for 19 and 13 points in their next two games against PLDT and Sta. Lucia respectively which are both victories. She takes off some pressure from Erica Wilson, Anastasiya Artemeva, and Rachel Anne Daquis on offense which makes her a key reason for Cignal’s success as of late.
Lizlee Ann Pantone (PLDT) – The Legend is back! She may not score points but her contribution in the defensive end is hard to ignore. Pantone was all around the floor in their game against Generika Ayala and tallied getting a tournament-highs of 27 excellent digs and 21 receptions. Her defensive prowless is vital in giving Shola Alvarez, Sasa Devanadera, Aiko Urdas, Kendra Dahlke, and Grace Lazard more scoring opportunities.
Jhoanna Maraguinot (Sta. Lucia) – Much is expected from her coming into the PSL Grand Prix 2019. But with four games into the season, the former Ateneo Lady Eagle has only scored eight points, going scoreless in two. Perhaps she is still getting her bearings back but her contribution will help the Lady Realtors get out of their current slump.
CJ Rosario (Foton) – The former Arellano stalwart is in a funk to start her 2019 PSL season. The starting middle blocker of the Tornadoes has only scored six points while going scoreless in their straight-sets loss to the Petron Blaze Spikers. Her big frame and defensive ability on the net will be needed by the Aaron Velez-mentored squad to gain steam against other challengers in the tournament.
Gyzelle Sy and Ivy Perez (Foton) – With weapons such as Courtney Felinski, Selime Ilyasoglu, Shaya Adorador, and Maika Ortiz, Foton’s setters should have a feast in distributing the ball to such hitters. Such is not the case though as the Tornadoes only registered 11 excellent sets against the Blaze Spikers’ 21. Worst, 2018 PSL All-Filipino Conference MVP Rhea Dimaculangan outclassed both Sy and Perez with 20 excellent sets herself. Foton’s playmakers will have to do better than that if they are to succeed.