All eyes will be on debuting F2 Logistics when the much-awaited Premier Volleyball League kicks off its Open Conference tournament on March 16 at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Cargo Movers will be parading the same formidable lineup that won them the PNVF Champions League via sweep late last year that include Majoy Baron, Kim Dy and Aby Maraño.
F2 joined when the league turned professional late 2020, but skipped last year’s Open Conference held in a bubble-type setup in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte due to injuries.
This time, the Cargo Movers are healthy and hungry to show their championship form, particularly to their first opponent – the Black Mamba Army during the 3 p.m. opener on March 16.
Black Mamba Army, meanwhile, seeks to eclipse its sixth place finish last year with Jovelyn Gonzaga, Royse Tubino and Jem Gutierrez leading the crew.
Equally exciting will be the 6 p.m. tussle between defending champion Chery Tiggo and Cignal.
While the absence of Jaja Santiago, who is playing in Japan, can be felt in their campaign, the Pro Crossovers are confident they can still deliver with the solid roster headed by Dindin Santiago and Mylene Paat.
Paat is coming off a stint in Thailand where she won the Best Scorer plum.
Cignal, meanwhile, shored up its lineup with five new recruits, including Ces Molina, Jerrili Malabanan and Ria Meneses.
But what makes the second serving of the Open Conference, which drew nine teams, doubly interesting is that it will be held under a compact schedule with the champion to emerge just after four weeks, rendering all matches important and crucial.
Originally set over three months, the shortened calendar is to make way for the training of the national team building up for the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May.
Completing the cast are Creamline, Choco Mucho, BaliPure, Petro Gazz and PLDT.
League and organizing Sports Vision president Ricky Palou said the upcoming tournament will still be held in a semi-bubble system with no spectators allowed in line with the government’s health and safety measures.