by Kristel Satumbaga
Games Today (The Arena, San Juan City)
3 p.m. – Creamline vs Pacifictown Army
5 p.m. – BanKo-Perlas vs PetroGazz
PetroGazz and Pacifictown Army seek to follow up opening-day wins while Creamline tries to bounce back from a bad start today in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Angels clash with the BanKo-Perlas Spikers at 5 p.m. while the Lady Troopers and the Cool Smashers collide in the 3 p.m. opener.
PetroGazz made its title campaign felt on Sunday with a stunning 25-22, 26-24, 25-22 win over defending champion Creamline with imports Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson attacking from all angles.
Salas, a former national player from Cuba, erupted for 20 points while Johnson sizzled with 16 points, highlighting their dominance with a combined 32 of the team’s 42 kills.
Johnson was not new in the tournament scene, having played with BaliPure in the past, and the 28-year-old American is motivated to do more after beating the reigning champions.
Also out to provide spark for PetroGazz are Paneng Mercado and Jeanette Panaga.
BanKo-Perlas, for its part, aims for a strong start as it parades an intact lineup led by former collegiate standouts Kathy Bersola, Dzi Gervacio, Tots Carlos and Amanda Villanueva.
Finishing seventh out of eight teams last year, the Perlas Spikers are determined to bounce back with reinforcements Lakia Bright from the United States and Yasemin Yildirim of Turkey.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Alyssa Valdez and Creamline as they try to recover from that opening-day loss to PetroGazz.
Valdez hurt her left ankle after slipping midway the second set, but team insiders said the outside hitter will return to play.
“It’s only a minor sprain; she’s fine,” the source said.
None from the Cool Smashers scored in double figures in their first match and they hope they could regain their old form against a team also out to recover from a sluggish start.
Pacifictown-Army, though, will be a tough nut to crack following a 25-20, 25-16, 24-26, 25-23 opening-game triumph over BaliPure.
Olena Lymareva-Flink and Jenelle Jordan will join forces again with comebacking Jovelyn Gonzaga in their bid to reclaim the podium after years of absence in the league.
The trio merged for 38 points the last time.
Meanwhile, league sources said there is a possibility Thai mentor Tai Bundit might regain his old job as Creamline coach to replace Chinese mentor Li Huanning.