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HD Spikers test Chargers’ mettle in PVL Reinforced opener

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Games today (Saturday)

2:30 p.m. – PLDT vs UAI-Army

5:30 p.m. – Akari vs Cignal

While the imports will have a lot of say in their respective teams’ title drive, it will still be a question of how the locals will step up and rise to the challenge as action in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference gets going today (Saturday) at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.

Army brims not only with confidence as it parades Canadian import Laura Condotta and a slew of seasoned players, led by Jovelyn Gonzaga, but the Troopers are fully motivated to flash fine form as well with a new sponsor in United Auctioneers Inc. backing their campaign in the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Bingo Plus, Mikasa, and KUMU.

But they will have their hands full as they face the PLDT side bannered by Russian Elena Savkina-Samoilenko and a local crew headed by Mika Reyes in the 2:30 p.m. opener that will air on  One Sports, One Sports+, Cignal Play, and Smart Gigaplay and tipped to go down-to-the-wire.

Akari, on the other hand, kicks off its maiden stint in the country’s premier volley league against back-to-back bronze medalist Cignal with the Chargers boasting of three-time Olympian Prisilla Rivera, an outside hitter from Dominican Republic, and a young crew ready and eager to prove their worth against their more experienced rivals.

“Right now, I’m very honored to be part of the league. It’s a challenge for us and also for the players. We’re going to do our best and try to spring some surprises,” said Akari head coach Jorge Souza De Brito, who is also set to make his own PVL (coaching) debut.

But the Chargers must come up with lots of power to at least measure up with the HD Spikers built around reinforcement Tai Bierria of the US and local aces Rachel Ann Daquis and Ces Molina.

The games will also air on the league’s official website PVL.ph and social streaming app KUMU.

The other teams also beefed up by tapping world-class imports, namely Jelena Cvijović (Chery Tiggo), Odina Aliyeva (Choco Mucho), Yeliz Başa (Creamline), Lindsay Stalzer (F2 Logistics), and Lindsey Vander Weide (Petro Gazz).

The top four teams after the single round elims will advance to the semifinals, another single round-robin stage with the top two disputing the crown in a best-of-three series.

The losers will clash for the bronze, also in a best-of-three playoff.

The semis will start on Nov. 22 while the finals fire off on Nov. 29.

The grand slam-seeking Creamline beat Petro Gazz in the Open Conference then repulsed the visiting KingWhale of Taiwan in the Invitationals to zero in on the league’s first-ever grand slam.

F2 Logistics, meanwhile, opens its campaign against Chery Tiggo at 2:30 p.m. while Petro Gazz and Choco Mucho tangle at 5:30 p.m. at the Philsports Arena on Tuesday while Creamline faces PLDT and F2 Logistics collide with Choco Mucho on Thursday, also in the same Pasig venue.

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