Unsteady cast: Reviewing the Banko Perlas Spikers’ 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference campaign

It seemed that the Banko Perlas Spikers embraced the mantra “change is the only constant thing in the world” as their ever-changing lineup brought them to fourth place in the recently-concluded 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference.

Despite a solid local lineup, the Perlas Spikers struggled with finding the right guest players for their system as they saw the services of four foreign reinforcements throughout the tournament.

Originally starting the conference with guest players Kia Bright and Yasemin Yildirim, the team underwent some changes midway into the tournament with Thai player Sutadta Chuewulim replacing Bright, and American national Jeanne Horton replacing Yildirim in the semifinal round.

Add that to having Thai head coach Apichat Kongsawat calling the shots for the first time, BanKo experienced difficulties in finding the perfect groove to get their game going.

Team captain Nicole Tiamzon, who was awarded the 1st Best Outside Hitter, proved to be the only consistent player for the Perlas Spikers, finishing the elimination round as the sixth best scorer with 130 points. She also registered herself as the tenth best spiker of the tournament, tallying a 31.59 percent success rate.

In terms of individual success, BanKo only saw few players in the sheets. Middle blocker Kathy Bersola together with Yildirim finished as the top two best blockers of the tournament, recording 0.78 and 0.68 average kill blocks per set. Their solid net defense contributed to their team finishing as the best blocking team with 2.46 average kill blocks per set.

Veteran setter Jem Ferrer also provided a bright spot for the Perlas Spikers, finishing as the second best setter of the tournament with 5.43 average excellent sets per set.

However, their collective efforts didn’t fare as good as their individual performances. In terms of scoring skills, BanKo only excelled in blocking–they placed fifth in attacking and sixth in serving.

Their team performance in the non-scoring skills, meanwhile, proved better–they placed third in the digging, setting, and receiving departments.

The main struggle that the Perlas Spikers experienced in the Reinforced Conference was the fact that their team had to adjust with the changes made while the tournament was ongoing. While the other teams were secure with their lineups, BanKo had to find the right groove with their impermanent lineup that cost them a non-podium finish.

Without the help of foreign reinforcements in the upcoming tournament, it is high time for the other local players to step up in terms of offense and defense, given that only few players carried the whole load of the team in the previous conference.

BanKo looks to step back on the podium in the upcoming 2019 PVL Open Conference as they seek for their first title in the league.

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