FOCUS will be on Thai imports Amporn Hyapha and Kannika Thipachot as the Power Smashers begin their title bid in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference starting on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
Amporn Hyapha and Kannika Thipachot have won V-League titles with Cagayan Valley and are expected to carry the new PVL squad that includes Arellano U's Jovielyn Prado, UST’s Dimdim Pacres and Alina Bicar and San Sebastian's Vira Mae Guillema and Katherin Villegas.
The team has been training for two weeks and as opening day approaches, coach Nes Pamilar has stressed the need for the locals to step up and provide the two Thais the needed support.
"Their conditioning is good but what we need right now is for the local players to help them," said Pamilar.
Pamilar was also the coach who handled the Cagayan Valley teams that won with the help of Hyapha and Thipachot.
He is expecting Pacres and Bicar to do well as they battle teams that feature top players including Alyssa Valdez of Creamline, Myla Pablo of Pocari Sweat, Amy Ahomiro of Perlas, Joy Cases of Air Force, and Grethcel Soltones of BaliPure.
"We're doing well when Pacres arrived and Bicar is also doing good and I'm still deciding right now who between her and Guillema would take the starting setter job," said Pamilar.
The Power Smashers will take on defending champion Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors at 4 p.m. in the opener.
"We have no import last year when we played them but this time we have so we expect to be competitive," he said.
In other opening day matches, Air Force and BaliPure clash at 2 p.m. while Creamline and Perlas square off at 6 p.m. with the three matches to be aired live on ABS-CBN’s S+A Channel 23.