Valdez back as V-League unveils rebranded ‘interactive’ tournament
But perhaps most important, it still flaunts the biggest draw in Alyssa Valdez, the country’s most popular volleyball player who helped turn the sport around.
Valdez, who saw action in Thai leagues, returned to the country to banner the Creamline Cool Smashers when the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) kicks off on April 30.
“The Thailand stint was very memorable,” said Valdez, the three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player from Ateneo who played for 3BB Nakornnont in the Thai League and Thai-Denmark Super League.
“I really learned a lot on and off the court, and hopefully, I get to share it with my [Creamline] teammates. I’m really excited to be part of this team. We’re hoping to give our best.”
Valdez undoubtedly will still be the biggest local talent in the PVL, formerly the Shakey’s V-League, but the five other teams hope to bank on their teamwork and crack imports.
“We’re a bit relieved and less stressed because even if we’re the defending champion, we’re not seen as the only team to beat,” said Pocari coach Rommel Abella in a press briefing Tuesday at ELJ Center in ABS-CBN.
Aside from the thrilling matches, PVL officials led by Sports Vision president Ricky Palou and chair Moying Martelino think the rebranded league will offer fans a more interactive experience.
“This is the start of something big,” noted Martelino.
“We’re not just building a volleyball league, we’re building a volleyball community,” said ABS-CBN Integrated Sports head Dino Laurena. “In our livestream, we’ll have three different angles and we’re giving the viewers the power to choose.”
The Reinforced Conference gets going with Bali Pure, led by NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones, clashing with the Air Force crew of veteran Joy Cases at 2 p.m.
“We respect each team a lot,” said Bali Pure coach Roger Gorayeb. “Everybody’s on equal footing.”
Pocari, headed by the trio of Myla Pablo, Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and Jeanette Panaga, takes on the Power Smahers at 4 p.m., followed by the 6 p.m. battle between Valdez’s Creamline and her former Ateneo teammates led by Amy Ahomiro of the Perlas squad.
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