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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Crossovers aim for solo lead against Athletics

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With a deep roster, Chery Tiggo coach Kung Fu Reyes is optimistic about their title campaign in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference, eyeing win No. 2 against Strong Group at resumption of the elims at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Saturday (Feb. 24).

New recruits Ara Galang and Aby Maraño helped deliver the goods as the Crossovers rolled past the debuting Capital 1 Solar Spikers in last Tuesday’s inaugurals of the league’s centerpiece tournament.

Pitted against another newcomer in the Athletics at 2 p.m., Reyes anticipates minimal resistance, considering the opponent’s recent three-set loss to the Petro Gazz Angels.

Despite the challenge of managing a lineup with added star power, Reyes views it as a “good problem” while underscoring the importance of assessing players’ performance in training.

“It’s a good problem,” Reyes said in jest.

He acknowledges the abundance of outside hitters but expresses confidence in the reliability of his talented squad, which includes Mylene Paat, Cza Carandang, Cess Robles, Pauline Gaston, Shaya Adorado and the Laure sisters – EJ and Eya.

“Somehow, masakit sa ulo, madami kaming outside hitters,” said Reyes. “Ang magiging gauge namin is kung sino yung 100 percent, sino ang mas maganda ang performance, sino ang pinaka-consistent sa training.”

But the Athletics are hopeful for an improved performance from players such as skipper Dolly Versoza, Angeli Cane, Sheeka Espinosa, Nikkie Baldizanso, Sousan Raslan, Joy Onofre, Andrea Rebleza and Ayumi Furukawa.

Meanwhile, Creamline and Cignal kick off their respective campaigns against Farm Fresh and Akari, respectively.

Shooting for a third straight AFC championship and eighth PVL crown, the Cool Smashers also boast of a formidable roster with players like Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza, Alyssa Valdez, Michele Gumabao, Bernadeth Pons, Risa Sato and Pangs Panaga.

Coach Sherwin Meneses also faces the challenge of dealing with a strong lineup, including Bea de Leon and Denden Revilla, as they set out against the Foxies in the 6 p.m. mainer of the first triple-bill in the three-month long conference organized by Sports Vision.

But the Foxies are ready to put up a strong fight behind Trisha Tubu, Alyssa Bertolano, Rizza Cruz, Jaycel delos Reyes, Sofia Ildefonso, Angelica Legacion, Kate Santiago and Louie Romero.

Former Choco Mucho hitter Caitlyn Viray and seasoned Elaine Kasilag are backstopping the young squad.

Cignal, on the other hand, braces for a tough outing against Akari in their 4 p.m. clash with the HD Spikers to be led by Vanie Gandler, Ces Molina, Chin Basas, Roselyn Doria, Riri Meneses, Jovelyn Gonzaga and playmaker Gel Cayuna with new addition Jovelyn Fernandez also out to make an impact.

But the Chargers have also toughened up in pursuit of at least a shot at the championship with former Creamline ace middle Ces Domingo and former Petro Gazz stalwart Grethcel Soltones joining Dindin Manabat, Faith Nisperos, Joy Soyud, Fifi Sharma, Trisha Genesis and Michelle Cobb.

Games are aired on free-to-air on One Sports, in HD on One Sports+, as well as on the PVL’s official website (pvl.ph) and the Pilipinas Live app. Global coverage includes the new free-to-air channel – RPTV.

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