Finals match-up: The speed of Valdez, Kaewpin versus the Salas-Johnson power

A colossal open hitter battle looms large as Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez and Kuttika Kaewpin lock horns with Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson of PetroGazz in the finals of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference 2019.

This, after their respective teams dismantled separate foes during the semifinals of the import-flavored conference yesterday, setting up a Finals showdown on July 10.

All eyes will be on these four outside hitters.

The defending champs Creamline, for the past three seasons, has leaned on the tandem of Valdez and Kaewpin.

Together, the two spikers have brought the Cool Smashers to three semifinals and two Finals appearances, including last year’s successful championship run.

This time, though, the challenge was higher for them as the Tai Bundit-mentored squad is shooting for back-to-back Reinforced Conference title.

This should not be a problem for the duo.

Kaewpin was Creamline’s leading scorer after the preliminaries, averaging 15.4 hits per match with a 41.12 percent conversion rate in spikes.

The Thai reinforcement was also dependable on the floor, providing the Cool Smashers 49.34 percent receiving precision and tallying 2.79 digs per set.

Valdez, meanwhile, also provided big punches for her team, who finished the prelims with a second-best 9-1 tally.

The Creamline skipper was scoring 12 points per game whilst leading the serving charts with 0.68 aces per set.

The two has combined for 56 points to power Creamline during its semifinals win against PacificTown Army.

But while Kaewpin and Valdez were already tested and proven, they still may need to exert extra effort when they clash with Petro Gazz’ Salas and Johnson.

It is no secret that the Angels’ impressive run this year was all thanks to the scoring prowess of their two imports.

Taking the tourney by storm, Salas is arguably this conference’s most outstanding import.

The Cuban ace is the tournament’s top spiker with a whopping 47 percent success rate. She was also the second best scorer with 21.12 average points per match.

Her partner in crime, Johnson, was nothing short of spectacular, too, may it be on offense or defense.

Appearing in five-out-of-seven skills charts, the American import averaged 18.3 points per game off a 46.22 percent success rate in spikes while helping in floor defense with 3.19 digs per set and 48.26 percent reception success.

With Salas and Johnson carrying the bulk, Petro Gazz wrapped up the prelims at the top with a league-best 9-1 card — their lone loss coming from Creamline, whose single blemish was inflicted by the former.

Salas and Johnson were unstoppable during the Angels’ semis victory over BanKo as they conspired for 84 big points.

Now, with the finals set, it will be an interesting battle at the wings between Creamline and Petro Gazz.

Obviously, Salas and Johnson have the advantage in numbers as proven by their statistics heading into the duel. Highly-efficient, the Angels will surely rally behind the duo’s power to clinch their first PVL championship.

But while their opponents are proven powerful, Kaewpin and Valdez, meanwhile, will rely on speed and their long-time partnership to lead Creamline.

Who will reign supreme: the power of the Salas-Johnson tandem or the speed and familiarity of Valdez and Kaewpin?

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