PETRO GAZZ hopes to exploit the absence of Alyssa Valdez as the Angels mix it up with the Creamline Cool Smashers in a compelling rematch of last year’s finalists marking the start of the Premier Volleyball League All Filipino Conference Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Valdez has been out of commission since suffering a right knee injury during the team’s bronze medal clash with Chery Tiggo in the 2022 Reinforced Conference but the three-time league MVP expects the rest of the Cool Smashers to take over and deliver despite her absence.
“I’m very much confident that this team will give a good fight this conference,” said Valdez.
With Tots Carlos and Jema Galanza on the firing end, Ced Domingo manning the middle, Jia De Guzman orchestrating the plays and the likes of Michele Gumabao, Pangs Panaga, Risa Sato, Kyle Negrito, Kyle Atienza and Rose Vargas ready to step up at any given chance, things remain looking up for the defending champions in the tournament they ruled via sweep of the Angels last year.
But while the Angels also lost a key figure in Myla Pablo, who has opted to move over to F2 Logistics, the 2022 Reinforced Conference champions remain as formidable as ever with MJ Philips, Grethcel Soltones, Jonah Sabete, Nicole Tiamzon and Aiza Pontillas still in the fold, along with Djanel Cheng, Alisa Buitre, Lourdes Clemente and Remy Palma.
New coach Oliver Almadro is also expected to give the team a new dimension and new recruits Dzi Gervacio and Jellie Tempiatura out to provide added firepower.
Gametime is set at 6:30 p.m.
“Our matches against Petro Gazz have always been exciting, but with their new coach [Oliver Almadro], we need to do our homework,” Creamline Head Coach Sherwin Meneses said. “But expect us to be ready for them.”
“The other teams beefed up during the offseason, but we kept ours intact,” Meneses said. “So let’s wait and see how everybody fairs.”
The 4 p.m. clash between Choco Mucho and Akari also promises to be fierce and tight with the Flying Titans raring to parade their triple-tower Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag and Bea de Leon along with the ever-reliable Des Cheng, Isa Molde, Cherry Nunag, Maika Ortiz, Caitlin Viray and Deanna Wong.
But the Akari Chargers have toughened up in the run-up to the new season of the league organized by Sports Vision, enlisting Dindin Manabat, Bang Pineda, Eli Soyud and rookie Camille Victoria to backstop the team’s mainstays in Michelle Cobb, Lcyha Ebon, Princess Madrigal, Jhoana Maraguinot, Janine Marciano and Shiela Pineda.
Games are telecast live on One Sports, One Sports+, Cignal Play, and SMART Live Stream and pvl.ph.