WITH an intact local roster and a pair of talented imports, Pocari Sweat is aiming for another crack at the Reinforced Conference championship when the Premier Volleyball League opens its second season tomorrow at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
The Lady Warriors won’t strut their wares until next week, giving the locals and their reinforcements more time to train and jell in time for their opening match against the PayMaya side in Tuguegarao on May 12.
The troika of Myla Pablo, Elaine Kasilag and Jeanette Panaga are again expected to anchor the team’s campaign while Americans Maddie Palmer and Arielle Love hope to provide the firepower and poise to a side bracing for a tough outing against seven other well reinforced squads vying in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
Pocari Sweat, handled by Jasper Jimenez with Ken Mirasol as team manager, has actually linked up with Air Force with former Jet Spikers Wendy Semana, Iari Yongco, Dell Palomata, Angel Mae Antipuesto and May Ann Pantino now backstopping the squad.
But focus will surely be on the team’s tandem of six-footers.
In college, Palmer recorded 1,494 kills, the highest in her school during the rally era while posting 1,116 digs, making her only the fifth player in Radford history with at least 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.
Love, for her part, is a three-time Atlantic 10 First-Team All-Conference member and was also a multi-faceted player.
“They have great credentials and we’re optimistic they will fit the team,” said Mirasol of Palmer and Love.
Pocari has also plucked Cesca Racraquin, a power-hitting San Beda star, from the Creamline Cool Smashers early this year, further strengthening the team’s frontline rotation.
Aside from Pocari and Creamline, other teams seeing action are BaliPure, Tacloban, Iriga-Navy, BanKo-Perlas, Pay Maya and Petro-Gazz.
Crowd favorite Creamline and PayMaya, formerly PLDT, take on newcomers Petro Gazz and Tacloban, respectively, tomorrow with games to be shown on ABS-CBN Sports + Action Channel 23 with live stream on www.sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/.