MICHELE Gumabao (third from left) returned with Creamline and the acquisition of rookie middle blocker Lorie Bernardo (second from left) from UP. — PVL

CREAMLINE launches its bid for a second straight Premier Volleyball League (PVL) crown as it clashes with an old, familiar rival in Petro Gazz on Tuesday in the Invitational Conference at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

The 5:30 p.m. duel will be a rematch for the Cool Smashers and the Angels after the former swept the latter in the Open Conference finals in April this year to cap a perfect eight-win title conquest.

Creamline will come in as the heavy title-favorite again especially after its already formidable roster was boosted by the return of one of its former leaders in Michele Gumabao and the acquisition of rookie middle blocker Lorie Bernardo from University of the Philippines (UP).

Mses. Gumabao and Bernardo joined a powerhouse squad that already has Open Conference Most Valuable Player (MVP) and finals MVP Tots Carlos and Alyssa Valdez, respectively, and a veteran cast that included setter Jia Morado-De Guzman, Jema Galanza, Jeanette Panaga, Risa Sato and Ced Domingo.

Petro Gazz, for its part, had retained its old, reliable cast headed by the power-hitting combo of Grethcel Soltones, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Myla Pablo, MJ Philips and Jonah Sabete with grizzled vet Chie Saet as their setter and Bang Pineda as libero.

While Petro Gazz head coach Jerry Yee will sit on the bench, Arnold Laniog will call the shots this conference as the former will focus on his college team, St. Benilde, in the NCAA.

“I’m still the head coach but this Invitational, Arnold will call the shots but I’ll be on the bench,” Mr. Yee told The STAR.

In the other game, Chery Tiggo and PLDT face off at 2:30 p.m. — Joey Villar