Is Niemer a legit MVP contender?

Thursday, 10 Nov 2016
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Stephanie Niemer early season form has lead to speculation about a MVP nomination

Stephanie Niemer continues to impress as she towed Petron to a masterful 25-22, 25-19, 25-10 conquest of F2 Logistics in the 2016 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix late Tuesday at the San Juan Arena.

The high-flying star from University of Cincinnati delivered 12 kills and conference-high nine aces for 21 points to tow the Tri-Activ Spikers to their fifth victory in six games.

Prior to this, Niemer torched rival Foton with 38 points, a feat that is two points shy of matching the league-high 40 points that American Kristy Jaeckel tallied two years ago.

Aside from that, she also registered 13 digs and 11 excellent receptions to easily become one of the most dominant and all-around players the league had ever saw.

With that, talks are swirling around that the former Puerto Rican league standout is heavily favored to win the Most Valuable Player award. But her coach, Shaq Delos Santos, quickly doused cold water on the wild speculations.

We still do not know. It’s hard to say whether she would get it or not. All I can say is that she’s good and she’s there whenever we need her. She was so sad when we lost (to Foton), but she vowed that she will bounce back with a big game.

Awash with class imports

Niemer is just one of the handful of imports who dazzle local fans with their volleyball brilliance and court wizardry.

Reigning MVP Lindsay Stalzer remains on top of her game as her superb attacking skills and solid leadership carry Foton to its fifth straight conquest. Same with Hayley Spelman of F2 Logistics, who is a strong opposite attacker and a solid defender at 6-foot-7.

Of course, Puerto Rico’s Olympic team captain Lynda Morales of Cignal should also be mentioned in MVP conversation as well as Ariel Usher of Foton, Sydney Kemper of F2 Logistics and Serena Warner of Petron.

Delos Santos said winning the MVP is the last thing on Niemer’s mind. And with only six games in the first round, a lot of things could happen, especially with all teams vowing to make the necessary adjustments in a bid to be more competitive for the tough grind ahead.

There are a lot of good imports in the league, but Stephanie is special. It all boils down to the conditioning of the players and their preparation each game.

Yes, it may be too early to tell. But with the way things are going, Niemer is definitely on top of the heap.

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