Champions of three of the last four Premier Volleyball League conferences, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors are going for a third straight Reinforced Conference title with decorated American imports Maddie Palmer and Arielle Love.
Both wingers are accomplished NCAA Division I athletes.
Love starred for Duquesne University, leading the Dukes to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2013 as a Junior. She was also the program’s first Division I Player of the Week and first-ever Atlantic 10 First Team All-Conference inclusion.
Palmer, on the other hand, made her mark at Radford University. Palmer holds the records for the South Carolina-based program in both kills and digs. She was also the Big South Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017, leading the Highlanders to the NCAA tournament in her Senior year.
Both will be playing as pros for the first time when the PVL kicks off on May 6. The duo is aware of Pocari Sweat’s winning tradition, and are excited to help the Lady Warriors through another heated conference.
“I don’t have crazy expectations. I wanna play really well. I wanna help as much as I can and be as much of an influence as I can to the group and get along with the group,” said Palmer, a Minnesota native.
“Watching the videos, I saw that the fans just get super into it. That’s one of the things I’m very excited about; that the fanbase is huge.”
“Pocari has great tradition and we’re looking to bring that championship back. I’m really looking forward to doing great things,” echoed Love, who hails from Ohio.
Pocari Sweat team manager Atty. Ken Mirasol has emphasized the team’s desire to keep winning titles. He is confident in the imports they selected.
“Expectations is they (imports) teach our local players how to play world class volleyball. We brought in two extremely good imports who compliment each other and have a lot to teach our local players,” said Mirasol, who foresees the new Pocari Sweat-Air Force combination going through a transition phase early in the season.
“The goal is always to win a championship. If you’re not into the business of winning titles, you should get out of the game. We understand it’s a new team, there are a lot of new players, new parts. We expect to have a bit of growing pains.
“Hopefully, the team will be able to gel soon. That’s why we brought them in early. Hopefully we’ll see them playing for a championship come July,” he added.
Mirasol is also optimistic that there will be no issue with securing their imports’ International Transfer Certificates (ITCs), which became an issue for most PVL squads last season.
“I trust everyone in the LVPI [Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc.]. I trust that things will go much smoother this time around.”
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