The Power Smashers will be relying on their veteran Thai reinforcements when they shoot for another title crack in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference beginning Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Amporn Hyapha and Kannika Thipachot have been training with the local Power Smashers as early as two weeks ago, making them ready to slug it out with the five other squads vying in the season-opening conference of the 14th season of the league, the former V-League where it all started.
While he has noted the team’s camaraderie and cohesion in practice, coach Nes Pamilar has stressed the need for the locals to step up and provide the two Thais the needed support offensively and defensively.
“Their conditioning is good but what we need right now is for the local players to help them,” said Pamilar.
Arellano U’s Jovielyn Prado, UST’s Dimdim Pacres and Alina Bicar and San Sebastian’s Vira Mae Guillema and Katherin Villegas banner the Power Smashers’ local unit raring to mix it up with the fancied names in the sport, including Alyssa Valdez of Creamline, Myla Pablo of Pocari Sweat, Amy Ahomiro of Perlas, Joy Cases of Air Force, and Grethcel Soltones of BaliPure.
Hyapha and Thipachot have actually played for Pamilar when they steered the Power Smashers to the then Shakey’s V-League Open Conference titles in 2013-14, making them the imports to watch in the upcoming tournament backed by Asics and Mikasa and organized by Sports Vision.
Pamilar is also pinning his hopes on the Pacres-Bicar duo.
“We’re doing well when Pacres arrived and Bicar is also doing good and I’m still deciding right now who between her and Guillema would take the starting setter job,” said Pamilar.
The Power Smashers will take on the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, the defending champions, at 4 p.m. in the opener with Pamilar upbeat of their chances.
“We have no import last year when we played them but this time we have so we expect to be competitive,” he said.
In other opening day matches, Air Force and BaliPure clash at 2 p.m. while Creamline and Perlas square off at 6 p.m. with the three games to be aired live on ABS-CBN’s S+A Channel 23. Matches can also be viewed live via livestream on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream.