Chery Tiggo 'anxious, excited' as rookie-laden team gets tested right away by Creamline | Inquirer Sports

Chery Tiggo ‘anxious, excited’ as rookie-laden team gets tested right away by Creamline

/ 07:27 PM June 14, 2023

Chery Tiggo coach Aaron Velez PVL

Chery Tiggo coach Aaron Velez. PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Chery Tiggo coach Aaron Velez is tempering his expectations for Eya Laure and four other rookies when they open their 2023 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference campaign against defending champion Creamline on June 27 at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

The league unveiled its schedule for the midseason tournament with Chery Tiggo and Creamline headlining the triple header opening day at 6:30 p.m. in Pool A.


“[We’re] anxious [and] excited,” Velez told Inquirer Sports. “We all know what Creamline is made of and the experiences they’ve gained through the years playing together.”


The Crossovers pulled off a recruitment coup during the break, acquiring the most sought-after collegiate star Eya Laure and landing prized rookies from National University Jennifer Nierva, Joyme Cagande, and Cess Robles as well as University of Santo Tomas middle blocker Imee Hernandez

As the five rookies make their PVL debut against the seasoned Creamline squad, Velez is focusing on the progress of Eya and Co. in familiarizing the team’s system and building their chemistry with the holdovers, led by team captain Mylene Paat.

They are teaming up with other mainstays EJ Laure, Pauline Gaston, Cza Carandang, and Buding Duremdes as they try to bring back Chery Tiggo to the semifinals after missing the Final Four of the All Filipino Conference.

“I don’t want to expect and just looking forward to the game, [which is the] “reality,” said Velez, who also works as the team manager of Chery Tiggo and its sister team Foton. “Moreover, I would just like to see them play as one team and execute our system given that they are new. We are still in the process of knowing each others’ style of game.”

Creamline, which won three of the last four PVL conferences, also made a big move during the break, acquiring Bernadeth Pons, who is coming back in the indoor competition after focusing on beach volleyball for the past four years.

Tots Carlos leads Creamline to bronze finish in the PVL Reinforced Conference. –PVL PHOTO

FILE–Creamline’s Tots Carlos. –PVL PHOTO

Pons fortified the Cool Smashers’ roster as she joins  three-time PVL MVPs Tots Carlos and Alyssa Valdez as well as Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao, Ced Domingo, and setter Jia De Guzman


The Crossovers, meanwhile, are raring to claim their second PVL crown since winning the inaugural pro season two years ago when sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat took down the Valdez-led Cool Smashers in the Finals Game 3 of Ilocos Norte bubble.

Chery Tiggo is grouped in Pool A, which also features Akari, PLDT, and new team Gerflor. Only the top two teams in each group advance to the round-robin semifinals, where two foreign squads will join. 

The Crossovers will only play in the opener of the PVL’s first three playdates before the Invitationals take a break from July 2 to 10 to give way to the country’s hosting of the Volleyball Nations League men’s leg from July 4 to 9.

The Crossovers will resume their campaign against the Akari Chargers on July 11 at Philsports Arena.

Velez said they are bearing with the shortened schedule, which will feature quadruple headers in the last four playdates of the Pool Phase.

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“It is what it is.  We are just looking after our players’ health and welfare,” he said.

TAGS: Aaron Velez, Chery Tiggo Crossovers, Creamline Cool Smashers, PVL

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