MANILA, Philippines – The Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference kicks off on Sunday with a double-header, and top-caliber imports from all over the world taking the spotlight.
Six teams led by reigning champion Creamline will field two imports each in the tournament that will last until the second week of July.
"That's why we expect exciting games. The teams are more competitive and at par with each other," said PVL president Ricky Palou during the PSA Forum on Tuesday at the Amelie Hotel-Manila.
"Every team is a contender," he stressed.
Defending champion Creamline brings back Kuttika Kaewpin of Thailand, while Aleoscar Blanco of Venezuela makes her debut for the Cool Smashers.
Meanwhile, BPI Globa BanKo has tapped Lakia Bright of the US and Yasemin Sahin Yildirim of Turkey; and BaliPure has Danijela Dzakovic of Montenegro and Alexandra Vajdova of Slovakia.
Motolite will rely on Gyselle Silva Franco of Cuba, the explosive scorer who once scored 56 points in a Philippine Superliga game. They will also have Edina Selimovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Petro Gazz will have Wilma Salas of Cuba and Janisa Ivette Johnson of the US; and Pacific Town Army will be reinforced by Sutadta Chuewulin and Kannika Tipachot of Thailand.
"This is interesting but we want to defend our title. Our imports have been here since March so we've been practicing with them for more than a month now. Hopefully, the chemistry is already there," said Creamline star Alyssa Valdez.
"We're very excited," said BanKo's Dzi Gervacio. "We almost made it to the finals twice last year. Hopefully this year. We have a solid core and we have imports who can help us and challenges us to be better."
The league opens on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. Newcomer Pacific Town Army takes on returning team BaliPure at 2 p.m., before Petro Gazz and Creamline face off at 4 p.m.
The six teams will play in a double-round elimination, with the top four advancing to the semifinals. Matches are scheduled for Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
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