Bagyong Pablo has started to intensify for the PVL Open Conference 2018. It pours heavy damage on the open gaps of opposing defenses. This hurricane is here to stay.
Myla Pablo, the ace spiker for the Pocari Sweat-Air Force Lady Warriors, is currently the tournament’s leading scorer with 63 points. After scoring 30 points in their opener against the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles, she tallied 22 against the Petro Gazz Angels. In her third game, she only had 11 points in a winning effort against the Iriga Lady Oragons. The former NU Lady Bulldog connected on 56 spikes which is also tops in the current PVL conference.
Paneng Mercado of Petro Gazz is the runner-up in the scoring list with 53 points while teammate Jonah Sabete has 52 in five games. Rounding out the top five are Iriga Lady Oragons team captain Grazielle Bombita with 43 and Jovielyn Prado of the Tacloban Fighting Warays with 37.
Of success and failure
Pablo’s 140 total spike attempts translate to a success rate of 40% which also leads the league. Coming in at second is Alyssa Valdez of the Creamline Cool Smashers at 38.1% while Amanda Villanueva of the BanKo Perlas Lady Spikers is at third with 36.96% on 46 total attempts. Villanueva’s teammate Nicole Tiamzon is at number four with 36.05% conversion rate out of 86 attempts while Dzi Gervacio completes the top five at 35.9% on 78 tries.
But while Pablo and Valdez have sent the benchmark in this category, it comes with a price. They lead the league in spike faults with Pablo leading with 21 and Valdez at number two with 12. The number of attempts they get is also astronomical. In three games so far, the reigning PVL Open Conference Most Valuable Player takes 46.6 spike attempts a game. But that doesn’t compare to Valdez’ 63 tries in Creamline’s only game as of press time against PetroGazz.
There’s no question that they are exceptional talents. But when they get that much attempts, the variety in offensive attack is diminished and defenses can adjust accordingly. You need not look further than the fifth set of the Creamline-Petro Gazz match wherein Valdez is finding it hard to break the Angels’ net defenders. Despite that, she continually got sets even though they were trailing by a huge margin already. The result? A 15-5 drubbing. Likewise, Pablo’s 30 points was not enough to defeat a more organized Ateneo-Motolite squad.
Let’s not forget that Pablo is dealing with injuries to her back. She admitted this in the pre-game interview of their match against Ateneo-Motolite. In a time-out during their game against Petro Gazz, one of Pocari’s trainers sprayed something onto her back, perhaps to prevent tightness. That injury can only get worse with such a high usage rate. Therefore, Wendy Semana must be very creative in getting the other Lady Warriors involved so as not to aggravate Pablo’s lingering injury.
Best blocker, best server
It’s no surprise that the Petro Gazz block party dominates early on. Sabete leads the league with nine kill blocks while Ranya Musa has eight. Mary Ann Mendrez is tied with BanKo Perlas’ Mary Joy Dacoron and Amy Ahomiro with seven blocks apiece. Cherry Ann Nunag and Chie Saet both have six blocks each for the Angels. But in terms of average blocks per set, Kat Tolentino leads with a 1.0 average due to the four blocks in their four-set win over Pocari Sweat. Dacoron and Ahomiro are tied at 0.88 while Vanessa Gandler closes out the top four with a 0.75 rate.
Meanwhile, Dacoron has the greatest number of service aces with eight while Saet and Panaga has six apiece. Mendrez, Alyssa Layug, Divine Eguia and Therese Ramas of Iriga, and Iari Yongco of Pocari Sweat all have five. Dacoron is also the best server in terms of average with 1.0 per set in 37 total attempts. Bea De Leon and Kim Gequillana are both averaging 0.75 while Tolentino and Panaga are at 0.5.
However, it remains to be seen whether the top players in these categories will change or remain given that most of the leaders are part of teams that have played the most games as of the end of September 2018. Petro Gazz has already played five games in nine days while Pocari Sweat and BanKo Perlas have played three and two, respectively.