John Vic De Guzman apologizes for controversial interview

National men’s volleyball player Johnvic De Guzman issued an apology after earning the ire of the volleyball community with his controversial remarks.

In an interview with Inquirer Sports, De Guzman gave his opinion on the difference between men’s and women’s volleyball, with his words deemed ‘offensive’ and ‘sexist’ by online users.

In the video, which was taken down earlier today, De Guzman compared the two divisions in terms of clothing and ‘entertainment value.’

“Yung women’s, mga sexy naman sila, e hindi naman kami pwedeng mag-brief lang habang naglalaro,” he said. “Siyempre, siguro pagdating sa men’s volleyball, mabilis ‘yung patayan, mabilis ‘yung palitan, although kapag pinanuod talagang explosive, anlalakas ng palo, ang ganda ng execution.”

“Pagdating sa babae kasi, kumbaga ‘yung entertainment side nandun e, na sexy sila, tapos ‘yung palitan ng bola, medyo matagal, mahaba yung rally,” he added.

The video went rounds online and did not sit well with the volleyball community, with criticism coming from players and fans alike.

Amid the growing criticism, De Guzman published an apology tweet addressing his remarks.

“I would like to apologize for a statement in my interview with Inquirer Sports. It was taken out of context. I didn’t mean to insult the sport that I love the most,” De Guzman said.

“Like you, my advocacy is also to promote volleyball to a broader audience and make it realize that the men’s division is as exciting as the women’s. For whatever sensibilities that was affected — my sincerest apologies,” the statement added.

De Guzman previously played for College of Saint Benilde in the NCAA, where he led his team to a championship in his last playing year back in Season 92. He was also part of the men’s national volleyball team that participated in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.

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LOOK: PSL releases full schedule for Grand Prix 2019

Expect action-packed, high-caliber volleyball when the much-anticipated Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix opens its curtains on February 16.

Less than two weeks from its grand kick off, the import-laden conference promised to be one for the books as it will feature powerful foreign hitters from US and Europe.

Now on its seventh installment, a rather long iteration of the Grand Prix awaits volleyball aficionados as it is expected to run for 27-31 days or 12 weeks, promising three months of top-notch action.

The eight participating teams will undergo the two-round preliminaries from February 16 to April 4, before the staging of the quarterfinals and semifinals from April 6 to 27.

The tournament is tipped to hail either a back-to-back champion or a new titlist when the Finals phase ends on May 4 or 9.

Serving as the opening salvo, Cocolife and Foton look to start their campaign strong as they take one each other, 4 p.m., followed by the Sta. Lucia and Generika Ayala clash, 6. p.m., at the Ynares Sports Arena.

Check out the full schedule here:

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Jaja Santiago, Ageo Medics fall to Toyota Autobody Queensies

The streak didn’t last long for Jaja Santiago and the Ageo Medics as they bowed to Toyota Autobody Queensies in four sets, 15-25, 25-19, 16-25, 22-25, in the 2018-2019 Japanese V. Premiere League Sunday afternoon at the Saitama City Memorial General Sports Park Gymnasium.

After picking up two straight wins, the Medics showed grit and grind but the Queensies proved to be more solid as the race to Final 6 tightens.

With the loss, the Saitama-based squad fell to a win-loss 6-7 card in the Eastern Conference.

Jaja Santiago and Katarina Barun paced the Medics with 14 hits each to no avail as they absorbed their second loss in four outings since the tournament resumed last week.

Santiago dropped 11-out-of-17 kills for 64.7 percent success rate in spikes, two blocks and an ace while Barun hammered 13 kills and a block.

The Medics were outperformed by the Queensies in all areas, tallying seven less kills to 59, four less blocks to 13, and a lone ace compared to four aces of their opponents.

Neriman Oszoy led the scorers for the Queensies with 33 points off 31 attacks, a block and an ace.

The Medics will try to bounce back against JT Marvelous on Saturday at 3 p.m. Philippine time.

(Photo credit: Philippine Superliga)

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Poetry in motion: Who are the PH top setters of 2018?

Setters

Through the years, the Philippines has produced quite a lot of good setters. From the veteran playmaking of Tina Salak, Rubie de Leon, and Chie Saet to the modern-day setting of Mich Cobb and Ayel Estrañero, the country will never run out of good setters to choose from.

Setters are the heart and soul of a team’s offense. With a setter on court, offense can be generated. With a really, really good setter, games can be won.

FOX Sports PH enumerated the finest setters in the Philippines for 2018.

5. Jasmine Nabor, NU/Smart

The first converted setter on the list, Jasmine Nabor’s craft continues to grow since her conversion two years ago. The lefty setter now plays with more maturity, which contributed largely in her squads’ campaigns.

Nabor was second in setting by the end of eliminations of the UAAP Season 80, towing the National University to another semifinals appearance. Suiting up for PayMaya, Nabor scored a silver medal in the Premiere Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference.

She was also part of the national team that competed in the AVC Cup for Women.

4. Deanna Wong, Ateneo/Ateneo-Motolite

Filling the void left by a Jia Morado should make a young setter’s knees shaking, but that was not the case for Deanna Wong. On her first year as starting setter for the Ateneo Lady Eagles, Wong dazzled right away as she emerged as UAAP’s Best Setter after besting NU’s Nabor and DLSU’s Cobb.

Wong’s playmaking was arguably a factor in the Lady Eagles’ bronze medal run. She sprung into action anew for the Ateneo-Motolite in the PVL Open Conference, where she ranked third in setting while the Katipunan-based squad settled for second place.

3. Rhea Dimaculangan, Petron

Rhea Dimaculangan is one of those players who doesn’t seems to age. Her connection with her spikers is still on point, her reverse sets are still the best in the game, and her tricks can still outplay her younger counterparts.

The bemedalled setter collected two championships last year, as Petron triumphed in the PSL Grand Prix and PSL All Filipino Conference, where she was hailed MVP. The Blaze Spikers, thanks to her, remained as the winningest team in the PSL — despite losing the Invitationals Cup to F2 Logistics.

Dimaculangan made the cut for the 20-woman pool of the national team. But instead of playing in the international arena anew, she stepped down from her duties to give way for the younger setters.

2. Kim Fajardo, F2 Logistics

Having a Kim Fajardo as setter is a luxury that F2 Logistics enjoyed in their fruitful campaigns. Not only was she a smart playmaker, she is a figure of composure during crucial times, thus keeping the Cargo Movers in control most of the time.

Fajardo wrote history as she swept the Best Setter awards of the three PSL indoor conferences last season, making her the first ever grandslam winner of the award and the most awarded setter in the league. The three-time UAAP top setter also paved the way as the Cargo Movers took home one gold and two silver medals.

She was called up for another tour of duty for national team for the third straight year as she played in the Asian Games. She also competed in the Sealect Tuna Women’s Volleyball Championship with F2 Logistics.

1. Jia Morado, Creamline

Jia Morado can never do wrong, especially last year.

Last year was truly a banner year for Morado as it marked the start of her semi-pro career and her return to the national team. By the end of the year, her portfolio was filled with achievements, and they didn’t come as a surprise.

Creamline’s move to recruit the one-time UAAP Best Setter was a stroke of genius, as Morado handed them the PVL Reinforced and PVL Open Conferences titles. Setting poetry in motion, she weaved her magic all season long for the Cool Smashers, thus earning her the well-deserved two Best Setter and two Finals MVP wins.

Known for her fast-paced plays, Morado found her way back to the national team as she served as reliever to Fajardo in the Asiad before starting for the team in the AVC Cup. She proved, yet again, that her name should always be included in the national team’s future lineups at all cost.

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Who is the best middle blocker of the Philippines in 2018?

Middle blocker

A middle blocker’s role is not confined to canceling the opponent’s attacks alone. On most occasions, the team who gets better performance from its middle blockers has the edge in the game.

Just like what the the adage says, “When you control the middle, you control the game.”

As continuation of the top player series, FOX Sports PH ranked the finest women in the middle of 2018.

5. Risa Sato, NU/Creamline

Following her Premiere Volleyball League (PVL) Best Middle Blocker grandslam feat in 2017, Risa Sato has had another good showing last year. The Filipino-Japanese spiker made her return to the national team as she suited up in the AVC Cup for Women.

Locally, Sato was quite impressive, too. Her college team, National University, reached semifinals of the UAAP Season 80 while her club Creamline copped two PVL titles.

4. Aby Maraño, F2 Logistics

The ever feisty Aby Maraño may not be the tallest or the most powerful middle blocker, but she still finds a way to get the job done — often against 6-footers. A good blocker with a patented running hit, Maraño’s never-say-die attitude is what makes her stand out against taller rivals.

Last year, the most awarded player in PSL bagged the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix 1st Middle Blocker award and helped F2 Logistics win the PSL Invitationals Cup. A national team mainstay, Maraño skippered Philippines in the Asian Games and AVC Cup.

3. Mika Reyes, Petron

It was a colorful 2018 for Petron’s Mika Reyes. Aside from winning two PSL individual awards and two indoor conference championships, Reyes also donned the tricolors twice, making her one of the busiest players at the net.

More than her achievements last year, it was her vast improvement — as shown in her hard-to-catch tempo and ever solid net defense — that put Reyes at the top of the heap.

2. Majoy Baron, DLSU/F2 Logistics

From a lanky teenager to a national team material, Majoy Baron has truly come a long way. On her final year in the UAAP, Baron led De La Salle University to its 11th title and third 3-peat stunt.

Returning to F2 Logistics, the UAAP Season 79 MVP captured two PSL 2nd Best Middle Blocker awards, two silver medals and a gold. She made her debut for the national team as she was part of the Asian Games lineup of the Philippines.

1. Jaja Santiago, NU/Foton/Ageo Medics

Jaja Santiago is easily the top middle blocker of the 2018. No doubt.

The multi-awarded gem of a spiker was the most efficient spiker, second best blocker and second best scorer during her final year with National University in the UAAP. Santiago carried the Lady Bulldogs to another semifinals stint and was eventually hailed as the season’s MVP.

After completing her duty with NU, Santiago returned to Foton Tornadoes during the thick of the PSL Grand Prix, helping the Blue Energy nail bronze in her short stint with the team before flying to Japan in late May to look for a club there.

A versatile spiker, the 6-foot-5 tower wreak havoc from the wings when she and the national team competed in the Asian Games. By the end of their campaign, Santiago was the squad’s second leading scorer, with her 16-point output against global powerhouse China as her most notable performance.

But what solidified her stature as the best was when she was tapped as import of the Saitama Ageo Medics, becoming the first ever Filipina to suit up in the highly-vaunted Japanese V.Premiere League. As of the moment, Santiago was the second best spiker of the tournament, proving that she is a world-class spiker.

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Sta. Lucia taps NU coach Babes Castillo as replacement for George Pascua

Following another sorry campaign, the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors decided to shift gears by hiring a new coach as they continue to prepare for the new Philippine Superliga (PSL) season.

Hoping for a better finish after their winless run in the All-Filipino Conference last year, the Lady Realtors formally tapped Babes Castillo to call the shots for the squad in the upcoming PSL Grand Prix next month.

He will be replacing George Pascua, who failed to steer Sta. Lucia to a podium finish in all the PSL conferences last year.

Castillo is the Lady Realtors’ fifth coach in two years since their debut in the PSL back in 2017.

They were mentored by Michael Carino, Sammy Acaylar and Jerry Yee in their debut year, before Pascua took over the squad last year.

Expectations were high for Sta. Lucia when Pascua came in, especially after he successfully led Far Eastern University back to the Finals of the UAAP.

Pascua, architect of Petron’s historic conference sweep in 2015 and Cignal’s first ever championship, was envisioned as the one to turn the Lady Realtors into a heavy title contender en route to their first PSL title with his modern-day approach and championship experience.

But that was not meant to happen as they absorbed frustrations after frustrations, forcing the management to replace him with Castillo, a champion coach from the UAAP Juniors.

Sta. Lucia finished fifth in the Grand Prix with foreign reinforcements Dana Anisova, Kristen Moncks and Marisa Field.

They acquired Jho Maraguinot, Chin Basas, Carly Hernandez and Roselle Baliton to beef up their roster for the for the Invitationals and All Filipino Conferences.

Only Hernandez and Baliton were able to suit up for the Lady Realtors in the Invitationals, where they finished sixth, as Maraguinot nursed a strained knee while Basas suffered from ear and shoulder injuries.

Maraguinot finally debuted in the All-Filipino Conference, but it was ace spiker MJ Phillips’ turn to sit out as she recovered from an Achilles tendon injury. They wrapped up their winless campaign at eighth place.

Castillo and the Realtors have already started their build-up for this season as they conducted several tryouts last week.

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The renaissance of Daquis and the rise of Paat

Cignal’s one-two punch of Rachel Ann Daquis and Mylene Paat are having the time of their lives in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) this year.

Not only are the HD Spikers still alive in the All-Filipino Conference 2018, Daquis also seemed to have retained her old form while Paat continues to soar high.

In the past, Daquis — and the fans — has seen her level of play go down as she got older due to injuries plaguing her 5-foot-11 frame. But this conference, compared to her previous performances, the 30-year old is playing as if she was still in her 20s again.

Daquis seems to be thriving under the wings of coach Edgar Barroga, towing Cignal to its fourth semifinals stint since her transfer to the team last year.

The Far Eastern University alumna is now also a threat even from the back. Her backrow attack has vastly improved while her service — formerly her patented remote control serve — was modified into jump serve and just got harder to receive.

Leading by example, Daquis is heart and soul of the HD Spikers, whether by putting in numbers in the scoreboard or motivating her teammates with her never say die attitude.

It’s a renaissance of sort for the former PSL MVP.

Also seeing growth this conference is Paat. The absence of Jovelyn Gonzaga, who injured her knee last year, in the national team and in the club level seemed to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed the former Adamson University standout to showcase her craft.

Tapped to play for the national team this year, Paat proved to be a hidden gem as she emerged as one of the country’s top scorers during the Asian Games and AVC Cup for Women. She then carried her good showing in the international arena to the PSL and has become arguably the top performing opposite hitter in the tournament, giving veterans Aiza Maizo and Angeli Araneta a run for their money.

With Gonzaga still recovering, the national team spiker stepped up and paired with Daquis to become Cignal’s primary source of points as well on-court leadership this conference.

In just few months, Paat has grown into a young, waiting-for-her-turn spiker into a dependable veteran.

The newly-formed tandem of Daquis and Paat is expected to fuel Cignal anew when they face the defending champions Petron in the semifinals. In order to book a return to the Finals, the HD Spikers have to beat the Blaze Spikers twice, and Daquis and Paat will be needing all the support they can get from their teammates.

Providing scoring support are Honey Royce Tubino, Shirley Salamagos and Roselyn Doria, while Jheck Dionela will man the floor to give Acy Masangkay more opportunities to create plays.

Beating Petron may not be easy but it is doable, and with Daquis and Paat on top of their game, Cignal has what it takes to stage an upset.

Cignal clashes with Petron tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.

(Photos from: Philippine Superliga)

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Last two semis tickets up for grabs as quarterfinals resume

With Petron and Generika already in the semifinals of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference 2018, the two remaining seats will surely be highly-contested when the do-or-die quarterfinals action resumes tomorrow.

Foton and Cignal will try to outplay each other at 4 p.m. to determine Petron’s opponent in the semifinals, while F2 Logistics take on Cocolife at 6 p.m. with Generika as the semifinals pair of the winner.

The Tornadoes are hoping to catch the train ride to the semifinals even without the Santiago sisters at the helm of their charge. They’re shooting for a repeat of their four-set conquest of the HD Spikers during their preliminary round clash, where CJ Rosario and Mina Aganon unloaded 17 and 14 markers, respectively.

But Rachel Ann Daquis and Cignal will not be going down without a fight as they are eyeing to exact revenge and earn their second straight semifinals appearance. Daquis, who topscored for the HD spikers with 21 points, is expected to lead her squad anew together with lefty Mylene Paat and the hard-hitting Honey Royce Tubino.

F2 Logistics, meanwhile, will not take any chances against Cocolife as it aims to clinch its fifth straight semifinals appearance. Despite their dominant sweep of the Asset Managers in their two preliminary round matches, the Cargo Movers will still go all out with Ara Galang, Aby Maraño and Majoy Baron.

Hoping to negate F2 Logistics, Cocolife will surely rely heavily on the hitting prowess of Kalei Mau while Denden Lazaro provided support from the floor.

Petron swept Sta. Lucia, 25-12, 25-14, 25-16, while Generika escaped Smart, 25-16, 26-24, 25-23, to advance to the next round.

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Will Creamline close it or will Ateneo-Motolite extend?

One looks to end, one looks to extend.

Creamline and Ateneo-Motolite are tipped to go all out when they clash in the Game Two of the best-of-three Finals of the Premiere Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference 2018 tomorrow.

The Cool Smashers are looking to seal the deal and take home the trophy after taking Game One, while the Lady Eagles are shooting to force Game Three.

Action starts 4 p.m. at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum.

Serving as prelude to the highly-anticipated match is the Game Two of battle for third between BanKo and Petro Gazz at 1:45 p.m.

Alyssa Valdez and Creamline drew first blood last Wednesday by clobbering Ateneo-Motolite in three sets, 25-17, 25-10, 25-15, to inch closer to their second PVL title.

The reigning Reinforced champions asserted their mastery of the Lady Eagles, outperforming them across all areas and limiting their hitters to single-digit outputs.

The Tai Bundit-mentored squad almost doubled Ateneo-Motolite’s 22 attacks, firing off 41 kills off 48.24 percent success rate.

The Cool Smashers also made a living from the service line, racking up 11 aces compared to the Lady Eagles’ four, and tallying three more blocks, four to one.

Valdez schooled the young Ateneo spikers as she led all scorers with 14 hits, seven of those off service aces, while Michele Gumabao added 12 markers all on kills.

While Creamline played well-rounded game, Ateneo-Motolite looked lost.

Skipper Bea de Leon topscored for the Oliver Almadro-backed squad with a meager seven-point output, while their ace spikers Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino werecreduced to six points.

Deanna Wong also played sub-par with her eight excellent sets — only a third of Jia Morado’s 23 excellent sets for Creamline.

If the Cool Smashers will show the same intensity in their last match, the championship is already in the bag for them.

But if their preliminary round meetings were any indication, the Lady Eagles have what it takes to extend the series as they defeated Creamline in the second round after getting swept in the first.

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F2 Logistics ends Generika’s 6-game win streak to avenge first round loss

Sweet sweep revenge.

F2 Logistics exacted revenge and made quick work of Generika Ayala, 25-12, 25-22, 25-20, in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference 2018 on Saturday night at Caloocan Sports Complex.

The Cargo Movers avenged their four-set first round loss and put an end to the Lifesavers’ six-game winning streak as they finished pool play unblemished for an improved overall 8-2 record.

Hot fom the get go, the Cha Cruz-Behag-led squad displayed better performance on floor and net defense, putting pressure on Generika’s usually composed wing spikers and forcing them to commit errors.

Activating their middle hitters, F2 Logistics executed a near perfect first set victory before outplaying the Sherwin Meneses-mentored squad in the last two sets to complete its revenge victory.

Majoy Baron had another stellar performance as she finished with game-high 17 points built on 13 kills and four blocks.

Cruz-Behag added eight attacks and two blocks for 10 points as the Cargo Movers secured the second spot in the overall team standings.

Despite doubling up the Lifesavers’ 12 errors, F2 Logistics maintained its dominance in attacks (47 to 26), blocks (10 to 2), and serve (6 to 2).

The Cargo Movers will clash with seventh placer Cocolife in the quarterfinals, while the Lifesavers, who ended the preliminaries at third place with 6-4 card, will be taking on the undetermined sixth in rank.

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Palma, Reyes tower in rout of Smart as Petron sweeps prelims

Remy Palma and Mika Reyes stole the show as Petron completed its sweep of the preliminary round of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference 2018 after clobbering Smart, 25-23, 25-13, 25-12, Saturday at the Caloocan Sports Complex.

Petron came back from a 11-17 hole in the opener off Palma’s heroics and cut the six-point deficit to one as she fired three straight running hits, 19-20, before Aiza Maizo-Pontillas unleashed three consecutive points to complete the come-from-behind win.

It was Mika Reyes’ turn to wax hot in the second set as Petron regained its usual lethal form. The Blaze Spikers put on an impenetrable wall with Reyes at front, cancelling Smart’s offense en route to a dominant second set win.

Palma came alive anew in the third set, dropping four aces as she lead Petron’s 10-0 run while Reyes put on a clinic in the middle to give the Blaze Spikers the straight set victory.

Palma scored game-high 14 points off seven kills, three blocks and four aces as Petron maintained an immaculate 10-0 record heading into the quarterfinals.

Reyes uncorked six kills, four blocks and an ace for an 11-point output as the Blaze Spikers topped the overall team standings while only dropping two sets in the process.

Despite an inspired start, the Giga Hitters found themselves at the receiving end of Petron’s well-oiled offense and solid net defense as they finished the preliminaries with a 4-5 card.

Jerilli Malabanan was the lone bright spot as she tallied five kills and two aces for seven points for Smart, who welcomed back Ced Domingo and missed the services of Tatan Pantone.

Petron registered 40 big attacks compared to Smart’s 18 while dominating the net with 11 kill blocks to three.

The Blaze Spikers will take on Sta. Lucia in the do-or-die quarterfinals while the Giga Hitters still awaits for their opponent.

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Kalei Mau proves to be worth the wait after stellar first round performance

Cocolife’s Kalei Mau’s arrival and debut in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference was worthy of all the hype as she has proven herself a gem of a spiker.

Arguably the hottest blue-chip recruit this conference, expectations were high for the Fil-Am spiker, who arrived at the Asset Managers’ camp last August.

Mau played for the University of Arizona in the highly-vaunted Division I of the US National Collegiate Athletic Association with former PSL imports Nina Snuka and Katarina Pilepic.

Taking her talents in Puerto Rico and France post-college, Mau, alongside Stephanie Niemer, was also invited by the bemedaled Karch Kiraly to suit up for the world powerhouse US national team.

Expectations from the 23-year old hitter, though, were downplayed as she was still recovering from a dislocated shoulder she sustained during her stint with France’s Volley-Ball Nantes.

But come game time, Mau proved to be the hot recruit that she was, carrying the offensive cudgels for Cocolife since day one.

Though not yet in her best shape, Mau has amassed 135 points built on 120 kills (28.10 percent success rate), 12 blocks and three aces for an average 19.29 points per game, leading all players in the scoring department.

Mau was also dependable in defense and reception, tallying 14 digs and 13 excellent receptions per match to help Denden Lazaro on the defensive end.

The most amazing twist is that she is not yet 100 percent healthy.

Her efforts mostly went for naught, though, as the Asset Managers hold a win-loss 1-6 card after the first round of the preliminaries, with their lone win coming from a five-set victory against a hapless Sta. Lucia side.

Though her squad currently dwells at the cellar, Mau still has lot to offer for Cocolife, who is grouped with F2 Logistics, Cignal and Generika in the pool play.

Imagine what a fully recovered Mau could bring to the table — and with the Southeast Asian Games slated next year, the national team, maybe?

One thing’s for sure: Mau is definitely worth the wait.

(Photo credit: Philippine Superliga)

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PSL Power Rankings: Petron still holds top spot as Generika rises

Week 3 of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference has seen a lot of surprises. A handful of teams rose to a new level, while others have yet to find their rhythm.

Today we’ve got the PSL Smash Rankings and Top Performers of the Week.

8. Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors: 0-5, 3 points (Last week: #8)

The Lady Realtors have had another tough week as they absorbed a lopsided loss against Generika-Ayala. followed by a heartbreaking five-set loss to Cocolife after squandering a two-set blitz.

Jho Maraguinot continues to be their only bright spot, but she cannot do everything alone without a supporting cast.

But with injuries piling up, one can only think how coach George Pascua will rebuild and refocus the team heading into the second round.

Top Performer: Jho Maraguinot

7. Smart Giga Hitters: 2-3, 8 points (Last week: #5)

Smart went down in straight sets against both Foton and Generika and almost lost in five sets against an inspired Cocolife.

They might have been together as one team over at PVL (under the PayMaya team), but that unity still hasn’t showed in their last three outings.

With Gretchel Soltones and Aiko Urdas on the wings, Jasmine Nabor being a scoring setter, and libero Lizlee Ann Gata on the floor, they definitely have the best lineup right nowl. Coach Roger Gorayeb, however, needs to solve what’s ailing his team so they can get that boost heading into the next round.

Top Performer: Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone

6. Cocolife Asset Managers: 1-4, 7 points (Last week: #7)

These young Asset Managers are finally maturing as they fought tooth and nail for their first win against the Lady Realtors. They almost won against the Giga Hitters, too. Both matches went five sets.

Led by Kalei Mau and Denden Lazaro, the coach Moro Branislav-mentored squad also saw a revelation in setter Jinggay Bangad as she played vital role in Cocolife’s win against Sta. Lucia.

Top Performer: Kalei Mau

5. Cignal HD Spikers: 3-3, 12 points (Last week: #4)

An up-and-down week showed that these HD Spikers team sorely missed Royse Tubino as an instant offense option off the bench.

Tubino, still on training for the Philippine Army, came back last Saturday in their game against Petron but was not utilized.

Surely, coach Edgar Barroga will try to use more weapons to gain momentum moving into the next round as team captain Rachel Anne Daquis, Mylene Paat and Jheck Dionela continue to hold the fort for Cignal.

Top Performer: Mylene Paat

4. Generika-Ayala Life Savers: 3-3, 18 points (Last week: #6)

The biggest leap in this week’s rankings goes to the soach Sherwin Meneses and the Life Savers after getting their first win against a big fish in F2 Logistics, demolishing Sta. Lucia and ending the week with a straight set win against a reeling Smart team.

A three-game winning streak definitely brings a lot of motivation to these talented Generika-Ayala squad as they finally get to scrape their potential.

Ria Meneses, Fiola Ceballos, Kath Arado and skipper Angeli Arantea remain on target to get them over the hump.

Top Performer: Ria Meneses

3. Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy: 4-1, 16 points (Last week: #3)

Foton’s fantastic start hit a road block this week when they absorbed their first loss after four wins at the hands of F2 Logistics.

They also lost Arriane Layug to a knee injury, forcing coach Aaron Velez to tinker with his line-up until Layug gets back to full strength.

A much tougher week ahead is scheduled for the Tornadoes as they will go up against a dangerous Cocolife team before ending the week against powerhouse Petron.

Top Performer: Carmina Aganon

2. F2 Logistics Cargo Movers: 4-2, 22 points (Last week: #2)

After losing to Petron and getting stunned by Generika, coach Ramil de Jesus and his wards regrouped to halt the skid to sweep Foton Tornadoes last Thursday.

The injury-plagued Cargo Movers still miss the services of Desiree Cheng due to a hamstring injury, while Kim Kianna Dy is playing hurt due to a knee injury.

Now back in the winning column, Ara Galang is getting back to her old self and she is helped out by Kim Fajardo, Cha Cruz-Behag, Aby Maraño and Dawn Macandili.

Top Performer: Ara Galang

1.Petron Blaze Spikers: 5-0, 24 points (Last week: #1)

Still on top are the still unblemished Petron, and thee’s no surprise here.

A two-day rest for the coach Shaq delos Santos’ squad proved to be exacty what they needed as they beat the Cignal HD Spikers last Saturday for a f-game winning streak.

The true test will be this week as they go up against former mentor George Pascua and the Sta.Lucia on Tuesday before a Thursday matchup against Foton.

Led by skipper Ces Molina, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Bernadeth Pons and Sisi Rondina, Petron looks to end its first round bid with an unblemished slate.

Top Performer: Aiza Maizo-Pontillas

(With reports from Mark Edward Lopez)

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Valdez, Pablo go head-to-head in skills charts

Pocari’s Myla Pablo and Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez are neck and neck in the charts as the end of the preliminary round of the Premiere Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference 2018 approaches.

Both skippers of their respective squads, the two powerful outside hitters not only provided leadership but also led on offense as they shoot to wrap up the eliminations on a high note.

Pablo has amassed 251 points built on 222 kills, 18 blocks and 11 aces to be the tournament’s top scorer so far.

Not far behind her was Valdez, who trailed by just a point as she has racked up 210 kills, 11 blocks and 29 aces for 250 points.

Valdez could still end up at the top of the scoring department as she and the Cool Smashers still have two assignments left, while Pablo and the Lady Warriors only have one.

In the spiking department, Valdez registered 210/528 kills for a league-high 39.77 percent success rate, while Pablo came second with 222/667 kills on a 33.28 percent success rate.

Creamline’s top hitter also led the serving department with her 29 aces, averaging 0.63 aces per set, and appeared fourth in the digging department with an average of 3.54 digs per set.

Valdez and the Cool Smashers look to end the preliminaries on a better position heading into the semifinals, while Pablo and the Lady Warriors are already out of title contention.

Pocari’s Jeanette Panaga, meanwhile, currently headlines the blocking department after registering 44 kill blocks for an average 0.80 block per set.

In the setting charts, Jia Morado of Creamline remains ahead of the playmakers by a huge separation as she dished out 8.78 excellent sets per frame.

Even though the Adamson-Akari Lady Falcons dwell at the bottom of the team standings, libero Toni Rose Ponce is currently the best digger and the best receiver of the tournament, tallying 5.95 digs per set and racking up a 48.87 percent efficiency in reception.

Check out the full individual stats here:

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