CREAMLINE begins its title-retention bid against Petro Gazz as the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference kicks off on Sunday at the Arena in San Juan.
The Cool Smashers and Angels battle at 4 p.m.
Creamline, now coached by China’s Huanning Li, has an the intact core led by Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado, Michele Gumabao, Jema Galanza, Risa Sato and Melissa Gohing with returning Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin and new reinforcement Aleoscar Blanco of Venezuela.
The Cool Smashers added Far Eastern University stars Celine Domingo, Heather Guino-o and Kyle Negrito.
After a fifth place finish last Reinforced Conference, Petro Gazz skipper Paneng Mercado is hoping to make a big leap and match the level of Creamline.
“Team to beat would be creamline kasi sila yung nag-champion last year eh,” Mercado said. “Parang lahat naman ganoon kung sino ang nag-champion last year ang goal mo is to reach their level and ma-challenge sila. So sana magkaroon ng level ang level of play namin at maipakita this conference.”
Former assistant coach Arnold Laniog will be the head coach of the Angels, who will be led by imports Janisa Johnson of USA and Cuban Wilma Salas.
The Angels also recruited middle blocker Jeanette Panaga and open hitter Jovie Prado to join mainstays Mercado, Chie Saet, Jonah Sabete, Cherry Nunag and Cienne Cruz.
Pacific Town-Army plays BaliPure at 2 p.m.
Jovelyn Gonzaga returns to action for the first time since 2017 after a torn ACL, joining a veteran crew bannered by Royce Tubino, Nene Bautista, Joanne Bunag, Ging Balse-Pabayo and Tin Agno.
The Lady Troopers have imports Olena Lymareva of Ukraine and Jenelle Jordan of USA with Kungfu Reyes calling the shots.
BaliPure featuring Grazielle Bombita, Sandy Delos Santos, Menchie Tubiera and Katrina Racelis as well as imports Danijela Dzakovic of Montenegro and Alexandra Vajdova of Slovakia is now coached by three-time league champion Rommel Abella. Lance Agcaoili