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Sister-team duels cap PVL All-Filipino opener

Sister squads Creamline and Choco Mucho highlight the opening day of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino when they go at it on 15 October at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The upcoming conference will feature a record 12 teams, surpassing the 11-squad field that saw action in the last Invitational Conference topped by guest team Kurashiki of Japan last July.

This will mark the second time the league is staging an All-Filipino conference following Creamline’s epic come-from-behind conquest of Petro Gazz last March.

Foiled in their bid for women’s volley’s version of a grand slam for the second straight year, the Cool Smashers are keen on winning another All-Filipino jewel although they will have to accomplish the mission without one of their anchors.

Ace playmaker Jia de Guzman has recently signed up with Denson Airybees in the V.League in Japan and is out of the Creamline roster for the first time. Kyle Negrito is expected to take over and will have a crack list of go-to hitters in Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza, Alyssa Valdez, Ced Domingo and Michelle Gumabao.

This will mark the second time the league is staging an All-Filipino conference following Creamline’s epic come-from-behind conquest of Petro Gazz last March.

But Choco Mucho will be a tough rival to tackle with the energetic Sisi Rondina raring to soar again along with Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag, Des Cheng, Isa Molde, Bea de Leon and Aduka Ogunsanya.

Nxled, one of the league’s two new teams, hopes to make an immediate impact on its PVL debut as it faces Gerflor, which debuted in the last Invitational Conference. The Nxlex Chameleons will be led by setter Camille Kal and hitters Lycha Ebon, Chiara Permentilla and Jhoana Maraguinot along with middles Camille Victoria and Krich Macasla.

But expect the Gerflor Defenders to likewise go all-out in the 3 p.m. opener with Janine Navarro, Rapril Aguilar, Justine Dorog, Alyssa Bertolano and Angelie Jingco hoping to come out better and stronger from their Invitational experience.

The 5 p.m. clash between PLDT and Cignal also looms to be a toss-up with a crew of veterans spiking the two teams’ respective title campaigns in the tournament organized by Sports Vision.

Mika Reyes, Mean Mendrez, Julianne Samonte, Erica Santos, Michelle Morente and Rhea Dimaculangan head the High Speed Hitters’ bid although the HD Spikers will not only lean on their seasoned players like Rachel Daquis, Roselyn Doria, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Ces Molina but also on young guns, including Vanie Gandler.

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