The Premier Volleyball League unveils its second offering on its inaugural season with two explosive matches kicking off the PVL Open Conference today at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Souped-up Creamline parades Ateneo star setter Jia Morado and former league MVP Mary Jean Balse as it tangles with newcomer Adamson-Akari at 4 p.m. while Perlas-Bangko and Air Force clash in the other match of the mid-season conference organized by Sports Vision, which hopes to sustain the momentum of the PVL’s successful Reinforced Conference recently.
Morado, UAAP best setter and member of the Phl team that saw action in the 2015 Singapore Southeast Asian Games, reunites with former Ateneo teammate Alyssa Valdez and coach Tai Bundit, while Balse, a two-time MVP in the V-League and winner of five championships, comes out of retirement to provide the experience and poise for the Cool Smashers.
Morado and Balse are expected to bolster Creamline’s drive for a championship following its third place finish in the import-laced tournament two weeks ago.
But the Lady Falcons are coming into the event upbeat of their chances with American coach Airess Padda hoping to spring some surprise from her youth-laden squad headed by Jemma Galanza, who suited up for Creamline in the last conference before returning to her college team.
Perlas, which will carry Bangko or a subsidiary bank of Bank of Phl Islands for this conference, and veteran team Air Force collide in the main game at 6:30 p.m.
Both matches will be shown live on Sports+Action Channel 23 and can be viewed via livestream on www.sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/pvl.
The Bangko Spikers have made some changes during the break, naming Thai Nai Muhammad as coach vice Jerry Yee, who returns to University of the Phl side. Perlas also acquired Ateneo libero Gizelle Tan and Southwestern U spiker Raprap Aguilar to firm up the team’s rotation.
“We’ll be having a new team sponsor, a new coach and some new players for this conference with hopes of finishing bigger,” said Charo Soriano, one of the managers and founders of Perlas-Bangko.
While they will miss the services of the power-hitting veteran Dzi Gervacio, who is on temporary leave to pursue her studies in the US, the Bangko Spikers still boast of top hitters like Kiwi and former Ateneo stalwart Amy Ahomiro and former UP standouts Kat Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon.
Meanwhile, defending champion Air Force tackles Gamboa Coffee at 10 a.m. and Megabuilders will take on Army at 1 p.m. at the opener of the men’s division of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.
The Volle Bolt side is led by National University spikers while the Coffee Spikers are composed of players from the Mapua Cardinals.
The other four men’s teams are Reinforced Conference champion Cignal HD, Cafe Lupe and Instituto Estetico Manila.