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Cool Smashers begin title defense

TEAM captain Alyssa Valdez leads Creamline as it begins its title defense in the PVL All-Filipino Conference. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PVL

Games today:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

2 p.m. — SGA vs Chery Tiggo

4 p.m. — Akari vs Cignal

6 p.m. — Farm Fresh vs Creamline


Defending champion Creamline tries to pick up from where it left off when the new-look powerhouse club begins its title-retention bid against Farm Fresh in the main game of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference triple-header on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game time is set at 6 p.m. following the curtain-raiser between the back-to-back win-seeking Chery Tiggo and Strong Group Athletics at 2 p.m. Clashing at 4 p.m. are debuting Cignal and Akari.

But the focus will be on the Cool Smashers as they try to keep the momentum of their perfect championship run in last season’s 2nd AFC going with two new additions in their already stacked arsenal.

Creamline acquired middle Bea de Leon and veteran libero Denden Lazaro-Revilla during the offseason but also saw the departure of former Finals Most Valuable Player Ced Domingo, who transferred to Akari.

De Leon and Revilla, who came from the club’s sister team Choco Mucho, are expected to make a huge impact for the Sherwin Meneses-mentored squad boasting of veteran talents led by superstars Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza and Tots Carlos.

“Honestly, in our team with Creamline, it’s new to us having new players coming in. Everyone knows we’re very into familiarity and being together as a family as well and it’s been working for our team,” Valdez said.

“Having said that, we’re still banking on that. Bea (De Leon) and Den (Lazaro-Revilla) have been training with us and really adjusting to the system of Coach Sherwin (Meneses).”

The Cool Smashers dominated the last staging of the all-local conference, winning all their 15 matches capped by the title-clinching Finals Game 2 victory over the Flying Titans that drew a record crowd of more than 24,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

However, Creamline, which will continue to miss the services of ace setter Jia Morado-De Guzman due to her commitment with the Denso Airybees in the Japan V.League, braces for tougher competition this time as all teams took advantage of the break to beef up their respective rosters.

The Foxies are no exception after taking in veteran winger Caitlin Viray along with setter Anj Legacion, Elaine Kasilag, Chinnie Arroyo, Jaycel delos Reyes, Janel Delerio at Ypril Tapia as reinforcements.

Farm Fresh, which only had two wins in the last tournament, will also bank on the explosiveness of young spikers Trisha Tubu, Kate Santiago and Rizza Cruz along with prized setter Louie Romero.

Meanwhile, Chery Tiggo looks to add SGA to its list of victims after a quick work of expansion squad Capital1, 25-6, 25-15, 25-15, last Tuesday.

Leading the Crossovers’ assault are Ara Galang, Mylene Paat, Aby Marano, sisters Eya and EJ Laure along with Shaya Adorador, Pauline Gaston and Ces Robles.

Chery Tiggo is favored over the inexperienced SGA, which is coming off a 12-25, 20-25, 12-25, crushing at the hands of Petro Gazz.

On the other hand, Cignal will try to open its campaign on a winning note against an Akari side hoping to begin its squad on the right track.

The HD Spikers will rely on Ces Molina, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Vanie Gandler, Riri Meneses, reigning Best Setter Gel Cayuna and recruit Dawn Macandili-Catindig against a formidable Chargers side bannered by newly acquired hitter Grethcel Soltones, Faith Nisperos, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Fifi Sharma, Janine Marciano and setter Michelle Cobb.


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