The Premier Volleyball League rebrands to mark its new season beginning Feb. 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with its kickoff tournament now called the All-Filipino Conference for a modified identity in the minds of competitors, fans, and stakeholders.
No less than the teams which disputed last year’s crown will clash in the opener of the two-month tournament tipped to go a notch higher in terms of firepower and level of competition.
All nine teams have sharpened and toughened up during the break with some beefing up their rosters to fuel their respective title campaigns, including F2 Logistics, now a certified championship contender with multi-titled Myla Pablo firming up the team’s already formidable frontline.
The former National U standout, who played for the Angels the last two seasons, including in the team’s title romp in the 2022 Reinforced Conference, considered her transfer as a “career move.”
“My decision (to transfer to F2) was mainly driven by my desire to grow in my career,” said the 29-year-old ace from Tarlac.
With Pablo joining the likes of Kim Dy, Major Baron, Aby Maraño, and young Ivy Lacsina, the Cargo Movers look to improve on their sixth place finish last year with an eye on going all the way to the championship.
Seasoned Dindin Manabat likewise moved to a young team seeking to make an impact following an eighth-place finish in its maiden stint in the Reinforced Conference with the two-time V-League MVP confident of providing the leadership and smarts to the Akari side which also drew Eli Soyud and Bang Pineda and mainstays Gyra Barroga, Gen Casugod, Princess Madrigal, Jhoanna Maraguinot, Camille Victoria and Janine Marciano.
Meanwhile, majority of the teams also made coaching chances in a bid to bolster their respective bids with Aaron Velez back with Chery Tiggo, Oliver Almadro now with Petro Gazz, Rald Ricafort linking up with PLDT, Dante Alinsunurin now manning the chores at Choco Mucho, and F2 Logistics going for a lady mentor in Regine Diego.
But focus will still be on the powerhouse Creamline side, whose intact roster makes the Cool Smashers the early favorite when they open their campaign against the Angels in the 6 p.m. main game of the season’s inaugurals.
Akari and Choco Mucho provide the appetizer at 4 p.m.
Tuesday’s (Feb. 7) will pit F2 against PLDT at 4 p.m. and Chery Tiggo versus Cignal at 6 p.m. at the Philsports Arena while the Filoil EcoOil Center in San Juan will host the Feb. 9 matches featuring Creamline against Cignal at 4 p.m. and Petro Gazz against Choco Mucho at 6 p.m.