Pre-season favorite Bali Pure kicks off its campaign today minus top hitter Alyssa Valdez and several key players as it clashes with Air Force in the Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
Valdez along with Gretchel Soltones and Alyssa Eroa will sit out their 4 p.m. duel with the Air Spikers as they are currently in London for a series of camp and exhibition matches and will return only on June 8, leaving the Water Defenders with a decimated roster.
Team Iriga City also makes its debut in the country’s premier women’s volley league as it collides with Team Laoag at 6:30 p.m.
The Power Smashers, led by Mylene Paat, Katherine Villegas, Wenneth Eulalio and Relea Saet, fell to the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs, 21-25, 25-20, 23-25, 21-25, in Saturday’s opener but are expected to bounce back against Iriga side.
NU and Pocari Sweat, which routed University of the Philippines, 25-18, 25-14, 25-22, also Saturday, show the way in the early going of the single round elims with the top four teams advancing to the crossover semifinals.
Meanwhile, action in the Spikers’ Turf also resumes at 1 p.m. with Cignal taking on Bounty Fresh with the winner joining Instituto Estetico Manila in the early lead.
BaliPure player-coach Charo Soriano hopes to draw solid games from former Ateneo teammates Denden Lazaro, Dzi Gervacio, Bea Tan and Amy Ahomiro as they square off with the Air Spikers, to be bannered by Judy Caballejo, Joy Cases, Iari Yongco, Mae Crisostomo, May Ann Pantino and Jennifer Manzano.
Soriano will also lean on the troika of Janine Marciano, Karla Bello and Ivanah Agbayani.
Two more former Ateneo stars Ella de Jesus and Jem Ferrer were listed in the roster but have yet to secure an official approval from their mother team PLDT at presstime.
Soriano, one of the organizers of the just-concluded Beach Volleyball Republic National Championship, voiced her concern over lack of practice time for her wards.