Six-team PVL kicks off with ‘even playing ground’
The Premier Volleyball League, the newest volleyball league in the country, was officially launched on Tuesday.
The PVL, formerly known as the Shakey’s V-League before undergoing a major rebranding, unfolds on April 30 with all six teams, headlined by defending champion Pocari Sweat, seeing action on opening day at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Lady Warriors, who will be bannered by mainstays Myla Pablo, Fille Cayetano and Jeanette Panaga together with imports Michelle Strizak and Edina Selimovic, begin their title defense against the Power Smashers at 4pm.
Pocari is favored to win but its head coach Rommel Abella said his team cannot take any other squad for granted.
“Everybody’s gonna be the team to beat and this tournament is going to be exciting,” Abella said during the press conference held at Restaurant 9501.
The Power Smashers, who have the well-respected mentor Nestor Pamilar at the helm, will be led by Arellano U star Jovielyn Prado.
Also making its much-awaited debut is Creamline, which parades superstar Alyssa Valdez.
The Cool Smashers clash with the Perlas Spikers, who will be spearheaded by Brazilian reinforcement Rupia Inck and former Ateneo standouts Amy Ahomiro and Dzi Gervacio, in the nightcap at 6pm.
“We would like to believe that it’s an even playing ground, but we would also like to believe that we’re the team beat,” said Perlas team manager Bea Tan.
Balipure and Philippine Air Force face off in the first game of the season at 2pm.
“I can’t gauge it yet. Everybody is on equal footing. Maybe when the tournament starts, that’s when we’ll know the team go beat,” said Balipure coach Roger Gorayeb.
The Water Defenders will be led by three-time NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones and National University setter Jasmine Nabor.
Thai Patcharee Saengmuan is the Lady Jet Spikers’ import.
The teams will play in a double-round elimination. The top four squads advance in a best-of-three semifinals with the top seed facing the No. 4 and the second-seed taking on the third minus a twice-to-beat advantage.
The championship round is also a best-of-three duel.
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