PVL Open title foes Creamline, Petro Gazz in early clash
The Premier Volleyball League’s (PVL) Invitational Conference wasted no time in putting the protagonists of its Open tournament in front of each other.
Creamline and Petro Gazz collide on Tuesday, a little more than three months after the star-studded Cool Smashers swept the Angels in the first conference finals to nail their first pro crown.
Their showdown comes just two playdates into the current tournament, with Petro Gazz in for more problems as star opposite hitter Michele Gumabao returns to the team after taking a leave last time out, strengthening a core made up of Alyssa Valdez, Tots Carlos and Jema Galanza.
Chery Tiggo, meanwhile, hopes it can draw more from its handicapped roster against PLDT in Tuesday’s other game after missing several key players in a straight-sets defeat to Choco Mucho in Sunday’s opener.
The Crossovers, the first-ever professional volleyball champions, were without injured star Dindin Santiago-Manabat and four other players—EJ Laure, Buding Duremdes, Alina Bicar and Justine Dorog—who were kept out by health protocols.
Seven teams are fighting it out in a single round robin preliminary round, where the top four will advance to the quarterfinals where they will be joined by foreign squads from Japan and Taiwan.
The Angels of Petro Gazz will fly into their 5:30 p.m. showdown with the Cool Smashers at Filoil Flying V Arena brimming with confidence.
They are coming off an intense training and will flaunt a roster decked with the likes of Nicole Tiamzon, Jonah Sabete, MJ Phillips, Aiza Pontillas, Remy Joy Palma and former league Most Valuable Player Myla Pablo.
Top hitter Grethcel Soltones, however, remains far from being in her top form as she continues to recover from a knee injury she sustained that hampered their title drive in the Open Conference.
“With an intact lineup, we focused on the players’ conditioning during the break and we hope Grethcel will be able to fully recover this conference,” said Petro Gazz’s Arnold Laniog, who still picks Creamline as the team to beat this conference.
“They’ve been together for so long and they’re always up there. But the round-robin format gives all the teams the chance,” he added.
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