The PayMaya High Flyers triumphed in their Premier Volleyball League debut, out-gunning the Tacloban Fighting Warays, 25-8, 33-31, 25-20, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
After dominating the first set, the High Flyers ran into a snag in the second frame. After re-deploying most of their starters, PayMaya avoided a late meltdown thanks to late conversions from imports Tess Rountree and Shelby Sullivan.
According to head coach Roger Gorayeb, their rusty play was a manifestation of their short preparation time. Gorayeb admitted that they had only practiced as a complete team last Friday.
“Siyempre ‘yung mga galing FEU, kailan lang natapos season nila. So medyo nagkakapaan pa ‘yung ibang players. Pero maganda pa rin ‘yung nilaro ng mga bata kasi maayos ‘yung libero (Lizlee Gata-Pantone) at setter (Jasmine Nabor) namin,” said Gorayeb.
Nabor tossed 24 excellent sets, while Pantone added 16 digs and seven excellent receptions. Rountree led PayMaya with 22 points while Sullivan finished with 15.
“This is an excellent character-building win for our squad,” said PayMaya executive Raymond Villanueva. “What an exciting way to kick off the season and the PayMaya sports program. The High Flyers lived up to its name and captured the spirit of the PayMaya brand.
“We invite the volleyball fans to support the PayMaya High Flyers team. Fly high and good win! But the journey will only get tougher as we face one of the favorites in the tournament next,” he added.
Arellano University standout Jovielyn Prado topped Tacloban with 12 points.
The High Flyers (1-0) take on early-season favorites Creamline Cool Smashers (0-0) on Saturday in Tuguegarao. The Fighting Warays (0-1) try for their first win against the BaliPure Purest Water Defenders (0-0) on May 19.
PayMaya (3) – Rountree 22, Sullivan 15, Soltones 9, Domingo 6, Nabor 6, Malabanan 5, Urdas 5, Singh 1, Carandang 0, Pantone (L)
Tacloban (0) – Prado 12, Amporn 8, Alvarez 7, Sangpan 4, Guillema 3, Abil 1, Negrito 1, Guillema 0, Guino-O 0, Marzan 0, Panteleon (L)