The country’s longest-running volleyball league will debut its new look, as the Premiere Volleyball League will begin with a promising Reinforced Conference field on Sunday, April 30, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The opening day features a triple-header, with defending champions Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors taking on the Laoag Power Smashers in the opening match at 2:00 pm.
Now playing without Finals MVP Michele Gamabao, the Lady Warriors will lean on pillars Myla Pablo, Melissa Gohing, and Elaine Kasilag; and new acquisitions Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and Jeanette Panaga. Pocari Sweat also tapped the services of towering imports Edina Selimovic and Michelle Strizak.
“We respect the Power Smashers a lot. Hopefully, we can get our title defense off to a strong start with a win,” said Pocari Sweat head coach Rommel Abella.
The Power Smashers, still coached by Nes Pamilar, look to NCAA Season 92 Finals MVP Jovielyn Prado to lead the charge.
“Pipilitin lang namin kung ano ang makakaya namin,” said Pamilar, whose team is still waiting for its imports to arrive in Manila.
“Defending champion ang first game namin kaya talagang hindi magiging madali para sa amin.”
Philippine Air Force and Bali Pure continue the hostilities at 4:00 pm.
Bali Pure now feature a wholly different lineup, with decorated head coach Roger Gorayeb taking over the head coaching reins. He has brought back three-time NCAA MVP and last season Open Conference MVP Grethcel Soltones with the core of his National University Lady Bulldogs squad. Air Force still roll with the same core of Wendy Semana, Joy Cases, and Judy Caballejo, with head coach Jasper Jimenez.
“We respect Air Force a lot,” said Gorayeb.
“They’re a team that has been together for a long time.”
For the nightcap, the Creamline Cool Smashers and Perlas Spikers will make their debut at 6:00 pm.
The Cool Smashers made headlines in the off-season after signing superstar Alyssa Valdez. The team also features American import Laura Shaudt, and former Adamson University Lady Falcons Pau Soriano and Janet Serafica.
“My stint in Thailand was very memorable, and ang dami ko ring natutunan, not only in volleyball but off the court,” said Valdez, who competed for 3BB Nakornnont in the Thailand League recently.
“I hope I get to share it with my teammates.”
Perlas will have the founders of Beach Volleyball Republic in tow and will be coached by University of the Philippines mentor Jerry Yee.
The six teams in the Women’s division will engage in a double round-robin elimination, with the top four teams advancing to the playoffs.
The PVL will also host a men’s division featuring the Café Lupe Sunrisers, the Philippine Army Troopers, the Sta. Elena Wrecking Balls, the Cignal HD Spikers, the Philippine Air Force Airmen, and the IEM Phoenix Volley Masters.