MANILA - Creamline will kick off its title defense against Petro Gazz when the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Conference unfolds at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Feb. 4.
The Smashers will meet Reinforce Conference champion Angels at 6 p.m. while Akari and Choco Mucho will square off in the first game at 4 p.m.
Creamline boasts of an intact line-up while Petro Gazz has acquired three players to beef up its roster.
"It will be an exciting match," Smashers head coach Sherwin Meneses said on Saturday when asked about their opening-day duel with the Smashers.
"We expect Petro Gazz to play well and we will be ready," added the 40-year-old Meneses, who played for Adamson University in the UAAP.
Former Choco Mucho head coach Oliver Amadro will now call the shots for the Angels, who have acquired middle blocker Des Clemente and open hitters Dzi Gervacio and Heather Guinoo to replace Myla Pablo and Bang Pineda whose contracts have expired.
"I think that we're still competitive despite losing two players. Our three newcomers will definitely help the team," Petro Gazz assistant coach Jay Chua said.
Creamline won last year's title after beating Petro Gazz, 25-18, 15-25, 25-23, 25-16, in Game 2 of their best-of-three finals series.
The 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference was formally launched in a press conference held at the Columbus Room of the Discovery Suites Hotel in Pasig City.
Present were PVL president Ricky Palou, Cignal TV head of sports content Mico Halili, and tournament director Tony Boy Liao.
Other team representatives who attended the event were Akari captain Michelle Cobb, Cherry Tiggo captain Paulene Gaston, Choco Mucho captain Bea de Leon, Cignal team manager Ken Ucang, PLDT Home Fibr Mika Reyes, Philippine Army Black Mamba assistant coach Yeth Carolino, and F2 Logistics head coach Regine Diego.
The tournament format calls for the nine teams to play in a single-round elimination with the top four moving to the semifinal round.
The semifinals are another single-round robin with the top two teams advancing to the final round.
The finals would be a best-of-three series while the battle for third place is only one game. (PNA)