The Premier Volleyball League fires off today with an explosive triple-bill tipped to set the tone for another thrilling opening-season conference among the country’s best and brightest players at The Arena in San Juan City.
Top draw Alyssa Valdez banners a Creamline squad out to make an impact in its maiden appearance and the many-time conference league MVP and former UAAP star will have a crack support crew that further makes the Cool Smashers one of the marked teams in the 14th season of the league where it all started.
They include Aerieal Patnongon, Coleen Bravo, James Suyat, Janet Serafica, Ivy Remulla, Pau Soriano, Joyce Palad, Aurea Racraquin and Jonalyn Ibisa.
Thai coach Tai Bundit will also pin his hopes on reinforcements Kuttika Kaewpin and American Laura Schaudt as they slug it out with the Perlas side anchored by former UP and Ateneo stalwarts and backstopped by Brazilian Rupia Inck and Japanese Naoko Hashimoto in the 6 p.m. main game.
The Perlas Lady Spikers will be relying on a combination of experience and youth with a slew of battle-scarred players, led by Amy Ahomiro, Sue Roces, Dzi Gervacio, Ella de Jesus, Sasa Devanadera and Jem Ferrer plus the addition of seasoned reinforcements Inck and Hashimoto putting them in good stead against the best teams in the fold.
They also put in a dose of youth and energy as they acquired Kat Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon, who recently completed their five-year tour of duty with the Lady Maroons, to beef up the Lady Spikers’ roster in the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.
The other members of the team are Mae Tajima and Amanda Villanueva.
Hashimoto, who plays for powerhouse Bangkok Glass and a member of the Japan team that snared the silver in the 2013 Asian Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, is also raring to showcase her wares against her counterparts.
The BaliPure-Air Force duel at 2 p.m. and the 4 p.m. clash between the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors and the Power Smashers are also expected to go down-to-the-wire with the Purest Water Defenders headed by many-time NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones and import Jennifer Keddy of the US and Thai returnee Jaroensri Bualee and the Jet Spikers boasting of a solid crew backstopped by Thai veteran Patcharee Sangmuan and local mainstays Joy Cases, Wendy Semana and Iari Yongco.