April 22, 2024

PVL preview: Chery Tiggo revvs up engine for swaggy podium finish

PVL preview: Chery Tiggo revvs up engine for swaggy podium finish
Art by Mitzi Solano/One Sports

Is this the new swag team?

The Chery Tiggo Crossovers got extra firepower during the offseason with the entry of Aby Maraño, Ara Galang, and Jeanette Villareal.

And they showed just that with a bronze medal finish in the PNVF Champions League.

  

Expect a swaggy trio of Aby Maraño, Eya Laure, and Pauline Gaston--along with timely hits from Ara Galang, Princess Robles, EJ Laure, Cza Carandang, and of course, Mama P Mylene Paat. 

[ALSO READ: PVL: Swag team ba? Pauline Gaston shares why she admires Chery Tiggo captain Aby Maraño]  

But will this be enough for the Crossovers to reach the podium of the 2024 PVL All-Filipino Conference as well?

Coach: Kungfu Reyes

Departures: Bingle Landicho, Jaycel delos Reyes, France Ronquillo, Jai Atienza

Acquisitions: Aby Maraño, Ara Galang, Jeanette Villareal

AFC lineup

  • Outside hitters: Eya Laure, EJ Laure, Ara Galang, Princess Robles, Shaya Adorador
  • Opposite spiker: Mylene Paat
  • Middle blockers: Aby Maraño, Jaja Santiago, Cza Carandang, Seth Rodriguez, Nette Villareal, Pauline Gaston
  • Setters: Jasmine Nabor, Alina Bicar, Joyme Cagande
  • Liberos: Jen Nierva, Buding Duremdes

Previous AFC record: 8-3 (4th)

Eya Laure was undoubtedly the star for the Crossovers in the 2023 PVL Second All-Filipino Conference, being the third top scorer of the preliminaries with 186 points. She was also ranked as the fourth best spiker with a 35.55% success rate and the fifth best server with 14 aces.

Jen Nierva was hailed top receiver of the preliminaries with a 52.58% efficiency, the only libero above 50 percent. Meanwhile, Jasmine Nabor was the fifth best setter.

 

They also delivered two of the most exciting five-set thrillers. One was against the Cignal HD Spikers, a team they now have a seeming series brewing, crossing over to the PNVF.

  

The second was a showdown against the now-disbanded F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, where Tyang Aby and Ara came from.

  

She's the captain now

Tyang Aby has never been afraid to speak out both in and out of the court.

And as the new captain of the Crossovers, she wants to provide that voice and energy to the young squad.

"Na-realize ko sa sarili ko na kung ito 'yung isa sa mga magiging papel ko sa team, 'di ko siya kayang tanggihan because alam ko na gift 'yun sakin ni Lord," Maraño told One Sports after training. It's actually a blessing and a curse.

Don't get her wrong. She likes being a captain.

"Gusto ko na nagso-solve ako ng problems, nag-oorganize ako. Very, very tita vibe na. So mahilig akong mag-guide, magturo, kaya siguro natural lang talaga, madali lang sakin gawin," she mused.

[ALSO READ: 'Sarap umarangkada': Aby Maraño shares what fans can expect with Chery Tiggo move

"Yung cursed side is parang forever mo kailangan to lead by your words, 'di ako pwedeng makitaan ng butas. Kailangan disiplinado ka kasi ikaw 'yung role model. Throughout kailangan panindigan."

She's doing just fine, we think.

  

Tyang especially liked how her swishter, Mylene Paat, found new energy as they became teammates in the professional league.

"Iba na 'yung energy ng sister ko 'pag kasama sa lahat ng bagay, madaldal, kulitan. Makikita na 'yung makulit na side ni Mylene. Siguro dahil nandito ako, swishters kami, sisters from another mother, parang nagiging natural na ulit 'yung dating Mylene," Maraño said.

Tyang Aby was also especially excited to team up with Queen Tigress, Eya Laure for the swag team.

"Na-excite kami para sa bawat isa. Minention niya, 'Rarampa na tayo, Tyang ah,'" Aby recalled Eya saying.

"Sabi ko, 'Ay, yeeesss! Basta pag naka-score ako, rarampa ako. Kailangan makikita kita, sinusundan ako, rumarampa ka din," Tyang Aby said, rolling her eyes upwards in jest.

"Tawa kami ng tawa. Nae-excite ako dun sa moment na ganun."

[ALSO READ: 'Rarampa na tayo ah?': Eya Laure, Aby Maraño can't wait to bring the swag for Chery Tiggo in PVL]  

 

Coach's corner

It is precisely this kind of leadership that coach Kungfu Reyes wants for the young Crossovers.

"180 degrees 'yung turn ng team when it comes to leadership. Meron kaming Ara, Tyang, experienced players, championship experience, very reliable from wing to middle," Reyes said to One Sports.

He especially liked the former Cargo Movers' attitude and their winning tradition and hoped it would also translate with the Crossovers.

Reyes did see it signs of it when Chery Tiggo reached the battle for bronze.

Now, they're working on their conditioning as well as taking care of their bodies, as changing weather patterns and various health issues affected their run at the end.

"Umabot kami ng dulo eh. 'Yung never-say-die attitude, talagang pinilit mai-survive hanggang dulo. Nagpapasalamat kami na nalampasan 'yung expectations," he said.

What they said

At first, Ara Galang expressed that she didn't know anyone in Chery Tiggo.

Three weeks later, she was bonding with fellow outside hitters Eya Laure, Pauline Gaston, and Princess Robles. She enjoyed the ribbing she received from so-called "batang bullies" like jokester Buding Duremdes.

"Nakakatuwa kasi kahit papano, dun nagsastart 'yung bonding. Nagbibiruan kami, nag-aasaran. 'Di ako nahirapan kahit na at first, wala talaga akong friends," Galang shared, now sporting bright red hair for Chery Tiggo.

[ALSO READ: After PNVF bronze, Ara Galang aims to become reliable presence for Chery Tiggo in PVL

Eya Laure even shared how she picked up a few techniques during warm-up from Galang.

And while Eya the Sleya is known for her utterly fierce game face on the court, she has taken the undisputed Queen of Swag Aby Maraño's words to heart.

"Napag-usapan naman namin 'yan, na bago mag-swag, maganda muna pinerperform. Hindi pwedeng puro swag lang. Hindi kami 'yung mauuna sa ganyang bagay," Laure shared.

  

First bout

The Chery Tiggo Crossovers will end opening day, Tuesday, February 20, when they take on new squad Capital1 Solar Spikers at the Philsports Arena.

The 6 p.m. game will air live on One Sports, One Sports+, and the Pilipinas Live app.