December 11, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

PVL fires off April 30

THE GROUNDBREAKING local volleyball tournament V-League enters a new phase in its existence as it kicks off the 2017 season later this month renamed as the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).

Described by proponents as “reinvigorated” with the entry of ABS-CBN Corp. as a partner, the PVL, commencing on April 30, is expected to build on the gains that the original V-League had achieved for the sport of volleyball in the country.

The PVL will start with the Reinforced Conference with six teams each for the women’s and men’s divisions.

Defending champions Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors lead the field in the women’s division.

Coached by Rommel Abella, the Lady Warriors will bank on the three-headed monster of Myla Pablo, Fille Cayetano and Jeanette Panaga in their quest to repeat as champions.

Out to foil Pocari Sweat in their repeat aspirations are the Creamline Cool Smashers, led by local volleyball star Alyssa Valdez; the Philippine Air Force Lady Jet Spikers, bannered by veterans Wendy Samana and Joy Cases; the Perlas Lady Spikers, which will have a core made up of Amy Ahomiro, Dzi Gervacio and Amanda Villanueva; the Power Smashers, headlined by Arellano University standout Jovielyn Prado; and the Roger Gorayeb-coached Balipure Water Defenders, which feature National Collegiate Athletic Association most valuable player Grethcel Soltones.

The Reinforced Conference will feature foreign players such as Rupia Inck (Perlas), Michelle Strizak and Edina Selimovic (Pocari Sweat), Patcharee Saengmuan (Air Force), and Taj Chupungco and Laura Schaudt (Creamline).

In the men’s division, competing are the Philippine Air Force Jet Spikers, IEM Phoenix Volleyball Masters, Cafe Lupe Sunrisers, Philippine Army Troopers, Sta. Elena Wrecking Balls, and Cignal HD Spikers.

The six teams vying in the women’s division will go through a double round-robin elimination round,

The men’s division will only have one a single-round elimination.

“I’m excited to be part of Creamline and we are looking forward to playing our best and competing,” said Ms. Valdez, returning to the local volleyball scene after a stint in the Thailand league, during the formal launch of the PVL yesterday at Restaurant 9501 in the ABS-CBN Compound.

“I learned a lot in Thailand both on and off the court and I would like to share those to my team in the PVL,” she added.

“We are excited for this partnership. This was long time coming. It took a couple of years for Sports Vision (Management Group, Inc.) and ABS-CBN to make this happen but it is now here. With the PVL we are not creating a league but building a volleyball community which is in line with our vision,” said Dino Laurena. ABS-CBN Integrated Sports head, also during the PVL launch.

Mr. Laurena added that they are bringing innovation to how they would broadcast the games, including the introduction of “multicam livestreaming,” wherein viewers get to choose in which camera angle they want to watch the matches.

To kick off action, the PVL will have a triple-header on opening day at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.

Balipure goes head-to-head with Philippine Air Force at 2 p.m. followed by Pocari Sweat against Power Smashers at 4 p.m. Creamline versus Perlas Spikers caps off the day at 6 p.m.

Philippine Air Force and IEM Phoenix start of men’s action at 10 a.m.

The 2017 season of the PVL will be aired live starting at 1:30 p.m. on S+A on free TV, S+A HD on cable TV, and via livestreaming on -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo