Creamline braces for the worst while looking to produce the best result in its title-retention drive in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference unfolding on Tuesday, June 27 at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
No less than top player and bemedaled Alyssa Valdez had hinted at a challenging campaign given the souped-up record field all ready and eager to halt the team steeped in championship tradition from extending its reign in the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
“Equal footing talaga lahat,” said the four-time league MVP on One Sports' The Game.
“One thing that will make a team stand out from the rest is yung system kasi it's just a fast conference,” she added.
Only two teams from each pool will advance to the semifinals phase to be spiced up by two foreign guest squads.
While the intact Creamline side boasts of firepower, chemistry and bench depth, it remains wary of its chances with the rest likewise all coming into the fray armed and resolved.
In fact, the Cool Smashers' first stern test will be the Chery Tiggo Crossovers.
“Individually, the team is excited, especially our rookies since they have looked up to not only our players but also the rest of the players in our league. Now, we just need to use this and work it to our favor,” said Crossovers head coach Aaron Velez, whose crew include former league MVP Mylene Paat, EJ Laure, Ponggay Gaston, and All-Filipino Conference Best Libero Buding Duremdes.
Beefing up the team are University of Santo Tomas' Eya Laure and Imee Hernandez, along with National University's Princess Robles, Jennifer Nierva, and Joyme Cagande.
Completing the Group A side are Akari, PLDT Home Fibr and newcomer Gerflor, which is also out to prove it belongs to the best of the best.
Meanwhile, beach volleyball stalwart Bernadeth Pons hopes to provide added experience and poise to the Cool Smashers in the tournament backed by BingoPlus, ArenaPlus, Mikasa, SMART, Rebisco, Kumu, Asics and SportRadar.
PLDT, on the other hand, also expects to figure prominently in the title race coming off a semifinals appearance last conference topped by Creamline.
The High Speed Hitters toughened up by acquiring Army's Honey Royce Tubino and reigning NCAA best setter Venice Puzon during the off-season.
Akari, for its part, has nowhere to go but up after placing second-to-last in the All-Filipino Conference with former Ateneo de Manila University ace Faith Nisperos hoping the provide the best of everything.
PLDT and Akari will clash on July 1, also at the San Juan venue.
Games will be telecast on PVL.ph, One Sports and One Sports+ with live streaming on Smart Livestream and Cignal Play.
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