Battle of the Rivals 2.0: Imagining a PVL vs. PSL All-Star Match up

Sunday, 15 Oct 2017
Jeff Bongar - Writer - @greatjab11

A few All-Star games have been played over the years and are often a joy to watch. The most recent was the AdMU and DLSU Battle of the Rivals that brought the whole MOA Arena to their feet as generations of Archers and Lady Eagles delivered an exciting 5 set match which was eventually won by the Alyssa Valdez led AdMU Lady Eagles.

That led me to the idea of the possibility of creating an All-Star lineup bannering for their respective semi pro leagues – the PVL & PSL. Just imagine the euphoria of fans if this vision should become a reality! Expect explosive action if and when that happens.

Here’s my possible lines up for the PVL and PSL All-Star teams:

PVL 12

Setter

Jia Morado (Creamline Cool Smashers), Jasmine Nabor (Bali Pure Water Defenders)

Arguably one of the best of her generation, Jia is one of the top setters in the country in both collegiate and club ranks. She is one of the rare setters who can stubbornly set up intricate plays even with mediocre receptions, and can also man the backline on par with the top liberos.

Jasmin Nabor, on the other hand, has her different style that is offensively minded. She has solid a decent attacking prowess on the second touch and has developed her blocking capability to make her a force in the net.

Libero

Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone (Bali Pure Water Defenders), Melissa Gohing (Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors)

Gata-Pantone, despite being absent for a few years due to maternity seemed to show no rust as the Queen Falcon led Bali Pure to back to back finals appearances. Her maturity and her smart reading of the game makes everything look easy in catching hard spikes and drop shots.

While Gata–Pantone, is known for her smart positional reading, the perennial champion, Melissa Gohing displays another side of a libero’s skillset – being agile and daredevil. She isn’t called “the Ninja” for nothing.

A toss-up between the two on who to man the floor would be a good problem for any coach as both can deliver impressive performances.

Outside Hitters

Alyssa Valdez (Creamline Cool Smashers), Myla Pablo (Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors), Gretchel Soltones (BaliPure Water Defenders)

MVP’s in their own rights; these players can score 30 or 40 points per match; rack up triple-doubles; have vast international experience; are go-to players in every team & are stars of their respective teams. Do I need to say more?

Opposite Hitters

Iari Yongco (Hair Fairy – Air Force Lady Jet Spikers), Rosemarie Vargas (Creamline Cool Smashers)

Iari and Vargas have a different original position but both can play effectively at the opposite. Iari for instance, that although has been moved from middle to the opposite position has been so effective that she topped the rankings in the last open conference. Vargas, on the other hand, can score in either open, opposite or backline. Just throw up the ball up high and she will find a way to score.

Middle Blockers

Kathy Bersola (BanKo Perlas Spikers), Jeanette Panaga (Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors), Pau Soriano (Creamline Cool Smashers)

With this trio, you will have a power tower that can man the net defense and at the same time can score in times when needed. Awarded with various Best Middle Blocker awards, the troika of Bersola, Panaga and Soriano will bring disaster to the ones who will try to enter their fortress at the net.

Coach

Tai Bundit (Creamline Cool Smashers)

More than his funny antics and his one-liners during time outs, this Thailand native is no joke. He creates teams from rugs to riches and zeros into heroes. His living testimony was the Cinderella run of then rebuilding AdMU Lady Eagles way back UAAP season 76.

PSL 12

Setter

Kim Fajardo (F2 Logistics Cargo Movers), Rhea Dimaculangan (Petron Blazers Spikers)

Having a Kim Fajardo in your team is like having a second coach inside the court. The former DLSU Skipper manages to do her heroics on multiple instances where her team needs her.

Also, Rhea as her back up is definitely not a throw away in the position. She, along with Maizo and Ortiz carried the UST glory days in their UAAP times.

Both impeccable setters of their generations, the National team mainstays Rhea and Kim will surely be a good partner on dictating the tempo.

Libero

Dawn Macandili (F2 Logistics Cargo Movers), Denden Lazaro (Cocolife Asset Managers)

Like Day and Night, Dawn and Denden’s way of manning the backline contrasts each other yet both are so effective. For Denden, preemptive reading of spikes is the kind her style while showing daredevil saves whilst throwing her body on the ground is what embodies Dawn’s way of being a libero. Having Denden to do service-receive and reinstate Dawn during transition defense is like providing a vacuum space in their court that no ball can easily land on the ground. Iron Eagle + Ms. Everywhere = An irritating tandem for their opponents.

Outside Hitters

Ara Galang (F2 Logistics Cargo Movers), EJ Laure (Foton Tornadoes), Bernadeth Pons (Petron Blaze Spikers)

This is probably the most versatile outside hitter line up that we can think of, as the trioka possess power, smarts and impeccable floor defense. Galang may have her struggles with her multiple knee injury but it is so hard to count out an MVP in both in and outside the Court. As for the two young volleybelles, you can expect that whoever you will put in the starting six, will surely create an impact for their team.

Opposite Hitters

Aiza Maizo Pontillas (Petron Blaze Spikers), Jovelyn Gonzaga (Cignal HD Spikers)

The two of the best in the business in one team is a good problem for their coach but an enigma for their opponents. With both spikers being a leftie, the opposite position for them is where they can shine the most. Their blocking is definitely on-point, but their on-court leadership and fire is what makes them special, making them your usual suspects for a national slot.

Middle Blockers

Jaja Santiago (Foton Tornadoes), Dindin Santiago – Manabat (Foton Torndaoes), Aby Marano (F2 Logistics Cargo Movers)

Dubbed as the twin tower, the Santiago sisters on the Middle position spells catastrophe to their opponents. Young at 21, Jaja tucked multiple belts and individual awards making her one of the sought after volleybelles in the local scene. Also her sister Dindin, despite her absence due to her pregnancy, shows spurts of her killer ability as she led Foton during the recent open conference of the PSL.

Not to be outdone, the BMDC Attitude of Aby makes her a regular national member. Her on-court leadership and her aura fires up her team mates, especially when she execute her signature running attack.

Coach

Ramil De Jesus (F2 Logistics Cargo Movers)

The DLSU Lady Spikers Coach Ramil is definitely a top pick for an all-star coach. Carrying 10 championships is just an icing to the cake as the smiling tactician, carried the F2 Logistics to their first championship in the PSL, multiple Finals appearance in the UAAP, and a podium finish during their campaign in the SEA Games.