ABY Maraño rejoins her La Salle teammates as they seek to rebound from a heartbreaking championship loss to archrival Ateneo in the UAAP last March.
Maraño – twice a UAAP Most Valuable Player – and the Lady Archers, however, will play notches higher in a club-league setting when they represent new team Air Asia in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference firing off on May 16 at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Maraño was picked second overall in the PSL's first-ever draft held less than a month since the Lady Arhcers' UAAP heartbreak.
Sports patron Mikee Romero put his faith in the Lady Archers by tapping the squad for his Air Asia team, which will be known in the PSL as the Flying Spikers, who this early are already considered as a championship-caliber team capable of dethroning two-conference champion Philippine Army.
The Lady Troopers are now backed by Generika Drugstore.
"I did not and will not lose faith in this team," said Romero, whose passion for sports extends to basketball, shooting, polo, golf and other disciplines.
Erick Erejola, Air Asia's representative to the PSL, said the league’s All-Filipino Conference will help the Lady Archers regain the form that won them three straight UAAP championships before that upset loss to the Lady Eagles.
"That experience will further motivate the Air Asia team to prove its worth in a club-league setting," Arejola said. "Air Asia will represent top notch volleyball action as we are tops in service in our industry."
But the Lady Troopers, champions in both the Invitational tournament and the Grand Prix in last year's initial offering of the PSL, are still considered the team to beat.
Cignal is also threatening to prove it could advance further than the two runner up trophies it won behind Army in the initial season of the league backed by Mikasa, Asics, Jinling Sports, Mueller and Healthway Medical Services.
"The All-Filipino Conference will give fans a glimpse of how the PSL has changed since the last season," PSL president Ramon 'Tats' Suzara said. "We gave all teams the chance to fortify their rosters with the best players available and no team will be a pushover this season."
Petron, which got Dindin Santiago with its top pick, is also tipped to figure well in the standings along with PLDT MyDSL, RC Cola-Air Force and Cagayan Province.
Men’s Grand Prix champion PLDT MyDSL, meanwhile, will be tested this time by new teams Cignal and Instituto Estetica Manila.
Systema is the fourth men’s team that is also tipped as a possible title contender.