PSL Grand Prix Player Rankings Week 2: There is a new queen in town

Monday, 06 Nov 2017
Jeff Bongar - Writer - @greatjab11

So much excitement surrounded the University of St. La Salle gymnasium last Saturday as the toughest league in the country turned the City of Smiles into a combat zone.

The best and brightest stars including Jovelyn Gonzaga, Kim Fajardo, Jaja Santiago and Mika Reyes were all seen live in action performing heroics, pouncing on every ball and battling for every point.

The elimination round is starting to heat up, so let’s look at the individual talents who played spectacularly this week:

10. Alexis Mathews

Photo courtesy of Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

The American middle hitter of Cignal continued to show her strength in the middle as she enters our charts this week.

Mathews provided the team with 20 big points built off of 18 attacks and 4 blocks.

However, her heroics went naught as they bowed down to the Army-laden Cocolife Asset Managers in five sets.

Mathews will surely be on fire against Iriga to avenge this heartbreaking loss.

9. Taylor Milton

Photo courtesy of Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

Cocolife shocked Cignal as it clawed themselves back from a 0-2 deficit to steal the win.

Grizzled veteran Jean Balse-Pabayo waxed hot with 11 points while American Tai Manu-Olevao also contributed 23 big points. But it was Talyor Milton who carried the team with 25 points laced with six digs and eight excellent receptions.

Slowly, the Asset Managers are embracing their roles.

8. Katarina Pilepic

Photo courtesy of Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

Generika-Ayala has already played four games but it still can’t find the best mix of players.

The Lifesavers were in disarray against the Tornadoes, who exposed their weakness and handed them another straight set defeat.

Pilepic may continually score in double digits but it takes teamwork for them to defeat stronger teams.

She definitely needs help from their local stars.

7. Sara Klisura

Photo courtesy of Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

Klisura proved to be too much for the Lifesavers as she powered Foton with 15 kills for a total of 18 points.

Alongside Jaja Santiago, Klisura was a picture of consistency as Foton remained undefeated in three outings.

Foton head coach Moro Branislav may just have found the key to the three-peat and she’s called Sara “Kill-sura”.

6. Dawn Macandili

Photo courtesy of Philippine Superliga

First game; first point – but for Macandili, it was like a championship point as she resoundingly dealt with Hilary Hurley’s scorching spike.

It was a normal day at the office for the multi-awarded libero as she delivered another double-double performance – 14 excellent digs and 13 excellent receptions that ended Petron’s three-game winning streak.

It was F2 Logistics first game but the pint-sized defense specialist’s performance loudly shouts that she determined to secure another individual accolade; she wants another crown.

5. Lindsay Stalzer

Photo courtesy of Philippine Superliga

Stalzer may have produced a double-double performance against F2 Logistics with 12 attack points and 11 excellent receptions but it seems that she wasn’t at her best.

As prolific as she is, she delivered sloppy back-row miscues and rare attacking errors which may have been a result of F2 Logistic’s blockers locked focus on her and Hillary Hurley, neutralizing them both.

UST should consider her performance as a warning; for sure Lindsay will come back stronger next game.

4. Tai Manu-Olevao

Photo courtesy of Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

Manu-Olevao may have had to adjust to the warm weather and the heavy consumption of rice, but it has been worth it as she carried the Asset Managers to their first win.

She scored 23 points and helped Denden Lazaro on the defensive side with eight digs.

With Manu-Olevao and Milton at the helm, Cocolife proved that the race to the crown is wide open.

3. Hillary Hurley

Photo courtesy of Kath Zamora, Volleyball PH

The tough-talking ‘Huley-cane’ wowed the City of Smiles as she delivered another explosive performance by scoring 21 points against F2 Logistics.

However, it was not enough to drag Petron to another win as the Cargo Movers stunned them in all angles.

If there’s one person who will surely take this loss personally, it will be Hurley.

As competitive as she is, she will want to bounce back as hard as possible.

2. Yuri Fukuda

Photo courtesy of Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

The impressive performances of the liberos of Petron and F2 Logistics – Fukuda and Macandili – left the City of Smiles delighted to witness an explosive action full of bombs and drop shots.

Fans cheered for every “puto” they delivered, resulting in longer rallies in a match that lasted for two hours.

Despite Fukuda’s whopping performance, Petron’s overall performance was highlighted by one point where she returned to the bench with a frown because her dig was in vain as no one moved for the second ball. And Yuri didn’t like it at all.

1. Maria Jose Perez

Photo courtesy of Philippine Superliga

What an introduction Maria Jose Perez made!

Assistant coach Benson Bocboc wasn’t bluffing at all when he told Volleyverse that F2 Logistics is confident with their imports this conference.

Perez spewed fire against Petron as she carried the Cargo Movers to its first win with 18 points were highlighted by clutch plays that spared them against Petron’s powerhouse team.

First game jitters? It was never in Perez’ vocabulary as she contributed on both offense and defense.

This win was a testament that F2 is serious in their bid for the crown.