ONLY four teams are left in the hunt of the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference crown, and it is no surprise that these remaining squads are also the strongest in the pack – numbers-wise.
Here are the strengths and weaknesses of each team by the numbers ahead of the Game 1 semifinals on Saturday at PhilSports Arena.
PVL FINAL FOUR PREVIEW
REIGNING CHAMPION CREAMLINE
Although three-time MVP Alyssa Valdez will not see action in the playoffs, Creamline’s title bid is safe in the hands of MVPs Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza and team captain Jia De Guzman.
De Guzman, the leading best setter averaging 7.32 excellent sets per set and the number one server with 13 aces, would have no problem choosing her attackers.
At the end of the elimination round, Creamline emerged as the best attacking team thanks to its three wing spikers who occuppied the top three in the best spikers list. Michele Gumabao is the number one attacker with 40.43% success rate, followed by Carlos (37.21%) and Galanza (36.40%).
The Cool Smashers are also the best serving team (1.61 aces/set) and the third best receiving team (36.82%), but it lags behind in the blocking and digging department after only ranking fourth and sixth, respectively.
NO.2 SEED PETRO GAZZ
Out of the four semis-bound teams, Petro Gazz is the most well-rounded from offense to defense and never left the top four of each category.
The Angels are banking on its aggressive net defense in most of their matches, averaging 2.56 blocks per set making them the number one blocking team. Remy Palma and MJ Phillips are also the second and fourth in the best blocker race, respectively.
No. 3 seed PLDT will also have a hard time scoring aces against Petro Gazz when they square off on Saturday as the Angels happen to be the best receiving team with 45.16% efficiency.
Although no one from the squad is the lone scoring machine, every Angel can still be a threat as they also ranked second in attacking (32.44% success rate), serving (1.41 aces/set) and setting.
If there’s one thing Petro Gazz needs to improve on, it’s on the digging side as they ranked fourth.
PLDT’s biggest weapon is in its smallest player – leading best libero candidate Kath Arado.
The University of the East product has been exceptional on guarding the High Speed Hitters’ floor, ranking first in digging (6.80/set) and receiving (63.86% efficiency). Thanks to her effort, PLDT is also the best digging team and the second best receiving team.
Behind De Guzman in the best setter race is Rhea Dimaculangan who averages 5.13 excellent sets per set, lifting PLDT as the third best setting team.
What the High Speed Hitters need to work on is their net defense as they ranked seventh in the blocking, while improving their attacking and serving in which they rank fourth in both areas.
FIRST-TIMER F2 LOGISTICS
F2 Logistics will need to bank on the league’s second-best scorer Kim Kianna Dy (127 points) and number one blocker Aby Maraño (0.70 blocks/set) to compensate in its performance as a squad.
As a team, the Cargo Movers are ranked eight out of nine in attacking and fifth in setting, receiving and serving.
Dawn Macandili, the second best digger (6.00 digs/set) and third best receiver (44.89%), is anchoring the floor defense of the Cargo Movers who ranked second in the digging area.
The Cargo Movers need to maintain their excellent net defense, ranked third with 2.27 blocks per set, if they wish to replicate their elimination round victory against the best attacking team Creamline when they open the playoffs hostilities on Saturday, 4 p.m. at PhilSports Arena.