Local volleyball star Alyssa Valdez has confirmed that she will make her 2015 Shakey’s V League Reinforced Conference debut in Game One of the Finals best-of-three Finals where her PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters will take on the Army Lady Troopers.
“She [Valdez] told me she’ll play,” PLDT head coach Roger Gorayeb told Joey Villar of the Philippine Star [READ: Valdez returns for PLDT in Game 1 clash vs Army].
The two-time UAAP MVP has been in PLDT’s lineup for much of the season but had sat out all of their matches to rest an ailing back, aggravated during her UAAP Beach Volleyball stint where she and partner Bea Tan took Ateneo to third place.
PLDT have managed to drub most of their competition this conference without Valdez, relying on mainstays Charo Soriano, Rubie De Leon, and Gretchel Soltones, and additions from the Cagayan Lady Rising Suns Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Janine Marciano, both former V-League MVPs.
Their only stumble, however, came against the Army Lady Troopers, who calmly took their elimination round meeting in five sets.
Since then, PLDT have added towering imports Victoria Hurtt and Sareea Freeman, both US NCAA Division I standouts. Although their new additions have just played one match with the team, Gorayeb is confident that the pair can quickly adjust. The National Team mentor purposely sat out both players in their semifinals beat-down of the UP Lady Maroons so they can get a spectators’ view of their system.
“I wanted them to see how we play so they can adjust. Hindi naman talaga tayo sanay na may mga kalarong kasing tangkad nila kaya maganda na rin na may oras pa kami para maka-adjust,” Gorayeb told the media after their semifinals match.
Having just won the past two SVL Conference MVP Awards, Alyssa Valdez adds to PLDT’s array of weapons.
Although they have the advantage on paper, the Army Lady Troopers carry unrivaled experience in chemistry into their matches with legends Tina Salak, Ging Balse, and Nene Bautista in tow and internationally-hardened veterans Aby Maraño and Jovelyn Gonzaga shoring up their roster.
Game One of the Finals begins on Saturday, 3 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
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