• Bali, Pocari loom as top picks in V-League

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    Boasting of star-studded rosters, Bali Pure and Pocai Sweat will set out as two of the favorites when the Shakey’s V-League unveils its 13th season next week at The Arena in San Juan City with eight teams disputing the Open Conference crown.

    The league actually ushered in its new season on Sunday in simple rites with the parade of the competing teams with the organizing Sports Vision raving over the continued success of the league, which put women’s volley back into the mainstream.

    “I remember 13 years ago when we first put up the Shakey’s V-League, we’re all just full of hope,” said Ricky Palou. “Now, we didn’t expect the Shakey’s V-League to be this big today.”

    Actual games will start on May 28, also at The Arena.

    Sports Vision also put up the country’s first indoor men’s volley league last year to complement with the women’s tournament with six teams clashing for the Spikers’ Turf opening conference also on May 28.

    Aside from Bali Pure and Pocari teams, other teams competing are Air Force, Philippine Navy, University of the Philippines, National University, Iriga City and Power Smashers.

    Making up the Spikers’ Turf cast are Cignal HD TV, Instituto Estetico Manila, Bounty Fresh, Navy, Air Force and Team Volleyball Manila.

    Valdez, a two-time league MVP who shared the Athlete of the Year honors with three others in the 78th UAAP, and IEM’s Jeffrey Jimenez, a former league Finals MVP, led the oath of sportsmanship.

    With fellow former Ateneo stars Denden Lazaro, Dzi Gervacio, Mary Mae Tajima, Amy Ahomiro and Bea Tan backstopping Valdez’s squad, Bali Pure has been installed as the early favorite in the upcoming conference.

    Charo Soriano, another former Ateneo star and a champion V-League coach, will handle Bali Pure which also features reigning NCAA MVP Gretchel Soltones, Janine Marciano, Alyssa Eroa, Karla Bello and Ivanah Agbayani.

    Pocari Sweat is also tipped to crowd Bali Pure for the crown with former La Salle star Michelle Gumabao headlining the squad that includes Myla Pablo, Melissa Gohing, Gyselle Sy, Elaine Kasilag, Rossan Fajardo and Siemens Dadang.

    Pocari Sweat will be handled by Thai mentor Tai Bundit, Valdez’s former coach at Ateneo.

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