As the first preliminary round of the PSL Grand Prix 2019 comes to an end, the strong teams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack yet again. However, there are games left to be played and anything can happen in volleyball. Regardless of team records, here are the players who stood out or took a slide from last week’s competition based on their individual performances.
Dawn Macandili and Alex Cabanos (F2 Logistics Cargo Movers)
The F2 Logistics Cargo Movers draw strength from their wing spikers and middle blockers. But some credit goes to Macandili’s floor defense and Cabanos’ playmaking skills for the team’s 6-1 record.
Fans thought that F2 might struggle due to Kim Fajardo’s injury. But the former UST Golden Tigress and Creamline Cool Smasher has been doing a fine job ever since she was handed the reins. Cabanos has been averaging 26.67 sets in the three games she played at starting setter for the Ramil De Jesus-mentored squad.
As for Macandili, her awesome floor defense against Petron Blaze Spikers import Katherine Bell has been the talk of the town. Despite the loss, the UAAP Season 80 Finals MVP had 30 excellent digs against the defending PSL Grand Prix champions. The pride of Tanauan City, Batangas also had 20 digs against the PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters. Performances like these make her inclusion to the Philippine women’s national team training pool worthwhile.
Everybody was caught off guard when the Generika Ayala Lifesavers started the conference at 1-6. However, their win-loss record does not reflect the steady defensive effort by General so far. Taking over for Kath Arado who is engaged in the UAAP wars with UE, the former NU Lady Bulldog came through by leading the league in digs with 169 which translates to 24.14 per game.
This week, General had 22 digs against F2 Logistics and followed it up with 29 against Foton to finally end their six-game losing streak. One can only hope that the Lifesavers’ hitters are doing their part to convert her effort into points.
With Cha Cruz-Behag and Kim Kianna Dy both sidelined due to injury, Ara Galang continues to deliver the goods for the Cargo Movers. Currently third among locals with a 10.57 points per game average, she tallied 36 points in F2’s three games this week. Her production is a welcome addition to the output of imports Lindsay Stalzer and Rebecca Perry. The short-handed Cargo Movers will continue to depend on the former UAAP Rookie of the Year as the second round commences.
The Cignal HD Spikers are one of the stronger teams so far thanks to imports Erica Wilson and Anastasia Artemeva together with team captain Rachel Anne Daquis. However, one of their main weapons has been quiet lately as Mylene Paat only had five points in their straight-sets loss to Petron. That production is below her 9.43 points per game average. But with the second round coming up, the former Adamson Lady Falcon will strive to bounce back.
Aiko Urdas (PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters)
Last week, the former NU Lady Bulldog guided the Power Hitters as one of the best players during their three-game win streak. This week, Urdas struggled in their losing streak as opposing defenders had her covered. From 18 total points in the week prior, Urdas only had seven in last week’s games. Urdas’ slump could signify that the Power Hitters are becoming predictable. Coach Roger Gorayeb has to make adjustments to improve their chances come playoff time.