PVL: Venice Puzon, NCAA Best Setter, to play for PLDT as guest player
MANILA, Philippines—PLDT signed two-time NCAA Best Setter Venice Puzon as a guest player in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference starting on June 27 at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
The High Speed Hitters on Saturday welcomed the playmaker from the Lyceum Lady Pirates, who will have a special guest license (SGL) from the Games and Amusement Board so she can still play in the NCAA next season.
“The team is pleased to welcome Lyceum Lady Pirate’s Venice Puzon, a two-time NCAA best setter, who will be joining the High Speed Hitters in the upcoming PVL Invitational Conference via guest license,” the team wrote. “Welcome to the PLDT family! We are delighted to have you in our pursuit of that high speed upgrade.”
Puzon emerged as the NCAA’s top playmaker for the past two years, leading the Lady Pirates to the Finals before they got swept by unbeaten champion College of Saint Benilde.
The young setter is not the lone NCAA player to get an SGL as the composition of the Farm Fresh Foxies is from St.Benilde.
Puzon will play with decorated setter Rhea Dimaculangan and set the plays for Mika Reyes, Dell Palomata, Mean Mendrez, Mich Morente, and fellow new recruit Royse Tubino.
The High Speed Hitters, who are now under coach Rald Ricafort, are looking to surpass their semifinal appearances in last year’s Invitationals and the previous 2023 All-Filipino Conference.
Meanwhile, Gerflor tapped Army players Ivy Perez and Anne Esguerra ahead of its PVL debut.
With the Lady Troopers skipping this conference due to lack of players, Perez will be one of the Defenders’ playmakers with Fhen Emnas and Sarah Verutiao, while Esguerra adds more depth to their frontline, joining middle blockers Ethan Arce, Ranya Musa, and Andrea Marzan.
Coach Edgar Barroga will be calling the shots for the team, led by rookie Alyssa Bertolano and returning spiker Mina Aganon-Digal.
Gerflor and PLDT grouped in Pool A with defending champion Creamline, Chery Tiggo, and Akari.
Pool B features Petro Gazz, F2 Logistics, Choco Mucho, Cignal, Farm Fresh, and Foton with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the round-robin semifinals, where two foreign squads will join.