Over the past three years, Alyssa Valdez and Creamline have lorded over the Premier Volleyball League.
Ever since Creamline formed in 2017, the Cool Smashers have always finished on the podium. Creamline has also made it to the finals in the last four conferences while taking three championships.
For her part, the 27-year-old outside hitter has been the league’s Most Valuable Player thrice in six conferences.
But when the 2021 Open Conference rolls around, Valdez and the Cool Smashers will be in for a challenge.
As a fan of the sport, Valdez is glad that all of them are under one roof. But as a competitor, she admitted that she feels extra motivated to prove that they are the best in the land.
“I’m super happy not just as an athlete, but also as a fan of volleyball. I’m super excited to see everyone play and go back to the court,” she told Dyan Castillejo.
“May nadagdag na energy at motivation to work harder. As a fan also, nakita ‘yung growth and journey ng volleyball dito sa Pilipinas. Ito ‘yung isa sa pinakahinihintay natin, ‘yung magsama-sama tayong lahat — to play against and for each other for Philippine volleyball.”
Out to stop Creamline’s three-peat bid in the Open Conference are the who’s who in Philippine volleyball.
F2 Logistics still has Kalei Mau and the majority of La Salle’s all-decade core.
PLDT reloaded with Rhea Dimaculangan and Isa Molde, while sister team Cignal is still fresh from its Cinderella run in the 2019 PSL All-Filipino Conference.
Sta. Lucia, on the other hand, has added Aiza Maizo-Pontillas to join Mika Reyes and MJ Phillips.
Chery Tiggo, on the other hand, will be led by Jaja Santiago, who is coming off a championship run in the V.League V Cup.
It’s not just the ex-PSL teams who are a threat as Petro Gazz rejigged its lineup, adding Myla Pablo, Grethcel Soltones, Ces Molina, Kath Arado, Remy Palma, and Jerrili Malabanan. Meanwhile, Perlas retooled with Jho Maraguinot and a bunch of FEU Lady Tamaraw standouts.
Choco Mucho will parade their new recruits as well, headlined by Denden Lazaro, Deanna Wong, Ponggay Gaston, and Regine Arocha.
Finally, BaliPure, newcomer UAC, and guest team Army are out for blood as well.
According to Valdez, Creamline’s disadvantage is that they are entering the wars with a team that has made few changes over the past few years.
Tots Carlos, Jeanette Panaga, and Ella De Jesus were the key pick-ups of Creamline during the extended off-season.
“Definitely, mas madaming teams at mas madaming challenges. I guess isa kami sa mga teams na intact din and for the past years, konte lang ‘yung nadadagdag sa amin. So sa scouting, isa kami sa madaling ma-scout na teams,” the native of Batangas opined.
“But we take that challenge. We are really looking forward na mailabas ‘yung best namin to welcome the new teams na pumasok sa PVL.”
Win or lose, Valdez shared that she will be living a dream once they enter the Inspire Sports Academy next month.
For her, having all the top stars in local volleyball in one league is a step forward not just for volleyball, but for women’s sports as well.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a healthy competition for girls, to empower each other and bring out the best of each other. It’s one of the things I like about sa sports.
“I’m really looking forward to it at sana mabigyan natin ng magagandang games ang bawat team. Sana ma-entertain din natin ‘yung volleyball community,” she expressed.