May 29, 2023

Seven burning questions in the PVL All-Filipino Conference

Seven burning questions in the PVL All-Filipino Conference

Will the Smart Araneta Coliseum be sold out on Valentine's Day? Can we watch the PVL All-Filipino Conference live? Are there going to be out-of-town matches?

Some of these questions are as easy as answering if water is wet. You know there's going to be a lot of fans on February 14 when fan favorites Choco Mucho Flying Titans and Creamline Cool Smashers clash.

You can also watch the games live on One Sports and One Sports+ (and Cignal Play) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 4 PM and 6:30 PM.

Oh and the PVL will also troop to Iloilo City on March 14, featuring the match between the Chery Tiggo Crossovers and the Petro Gazz Angels, along with the Akari Chargers vs Creamline Cool Smashers face-off.

Some questions though are not easily answered in one sitting. Some of them will be known as teams progress through the eliminations until March 16. Here are some of them.

Can anyone beat the Creamline Cool Smashers?

They are the three-time Open Conference champions and have remained intact for the 2023 edition. They even gained additional experience playing against the top squads in Asia during the 2022 Asian Women's Volleyball Cup, finishing at sixth place just above Iran, Australia, and South Korea.

And in the Reinforced Conference, where imports dominated the individual Best Scorers tally, the Cool Smashers collectively led all squads in spiking, serving, digging, and setting at the end of the preliminaries.

The only chink in Creamline's armor for this tournament is the injury of team captain Alyssa Valdez. The Phenom has been, well, phenomenal, not only in scoring but in ensuring the ball stays alive for the girls in pink. Will this weakness, along with the tendency to commit errors, be enough to take down the champions?

Are we going to see varied offense from the Choco Mucho Flying Titans?

The ube girls found a gem in Jem Ferrer, who shared setting duties with fan favorite Deanna Wong. Teammates and fans chimed their appreciation for Ferrer, one of the Ateneo Lady Eagles' Fab 5, as she made the entire squad shine.

But it seems other teams have found the key to stopping the Flying Titans, as the team continues to miss the podium. Will we see more cunning sets and wily plays as champion coach Dante Alinsunurin takes over a women's squad for the first time?

Who will step up for the Army-Black Mamba Lady Troopers?

The Army needs more soldiers to step up in the absence of Jovelyn Gonzaga and Ging Balse-Pabayo. New team captain Gelai Nunag, who soared as one of the best diggers in the Reinforced Conference, would have to inspire more Troopers to become hungry for a win as they try to reach or improve on their fifth place finish from the Invitationals.

Buhatera era no more?

Imports (and one Mylene Paat) registered high numbers for their team during the Reinforced Conference. PLDT's Elena Samoilenko, Akari's Prisilla Rivera, F2 Logistics' Lindsay Stalzer, and Choco Mucho's Odina Aliyeva were among the top scorers for the previous preliminaries, but their teams failed to reach the top four. In this All-Filipino edition, the locals would need to carry and distribute their offenses if they want to thrive.

Will the great red (and orange) walls break in the All-Filipino?

Petro Gazz's MJ Phillips, Cignal's Roselyn Doria and Ria Meneses, along with PLDT's Mika Reyes and Dell Palomata have all picked up Best Middle Blocker awards in 2022. Can these squads continue to provide a strong presence at the net, or will the likes of F2 Logistics' Ivy Lacsina break their dominance?

Who will be hailed as a master orchestrator?

Jia De Guzman of Creamline, the 2022 Reinforced Conference Best Setter, is one of the best facilitators in the league. She even earned praises from fellow setter and Thai star Pornpun Guedpard during the AVC Cup. Can the other teams, like Cignal's Gel Cayuna, Petro Gazz's Djanel Cheng, or F2 Logistics' Kim Fajardo challenge De Guzman for setting supremacy?

Will we witness a vintage F2 in the PVL?

Aby Maraño, Kim Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, Ara Galang, Kim Fajardo, Dawn Macandili, Cha Cruz-Behagthey are all stars and multi-titled champions in the Philippine Super Liga. Now that they have reassembled in the PVL, along with key additions Ivy Lacsina and Myla Pablo, can they assert their dominance in the pro league?