A pioneering professional league is hoping to get the stars finally aligned—on opposite side of the same court—for volleyball.
Chery Tiggo has also made the jump to the Premier Volleyball League (PVL), bringing the number of teams to 11, just one shy of what the league leadership feels is the most ideal.
And with the Crossovers making that move, Ricky Palou of Sports Vision, the outfit that runs the PVL, has grand plans to what the league will become as it targets an opening date of May 8.
“We’re looking at making it become like the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association),” Palou told the Inquirer over the phone as he talked with much excitement at how things have turned out. “We’re elated that this is happening. It (PVL) has now become a unified pro league, which is what we have wanted to happen from the very beginning.”
The development in recent days was a tectonic shift in the volleyball landscape as several teams from the rival Philippine SuperLiga made the jump and declared themselves professionals.
This gives the PVL the chance to do what volleyball fans have long wanted: Watch the likes of Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago, Mika Reyes and all—or at least a massive majority—of big-named stars of women’s volleyball playing under one roof, something that once seemed out of reach because of the divisiveness of the country’s volleyball scene.
And Sports Vision is doing everything to give the fans just that opportunity.
“We are hoping it will be successful,” Palou said. “And we will work very hard to make it successful.”
Here to stay?
The PSL has issued a statement saying it has allowed its teams to play as “guests” in the PVL, but there is little indication those teams will go back to the SuperLiga once it also opens shop.
The PSL had targeted an April opener for its indoor tournament after staging a beach volleyball event, the first tournament of the sport since the pandemic hit, recently.
“It really depends on what will happen next,” said the Chery Tiggo team owner Rommel Sytin. “But we are joining the PVL, too.”
Palou said that teams that signed up with the PVL “told us that they were here to stay.”
The Crossovers aren’t the only PSL squads playing in the PVL. Cignal, another team with a rich SuperLiga history, PLDT and Sta. Lucia also joined the PVL.
Sources told the Inquirer that the teams decided on a PVL stint after the league obtained a go-signal to resume operations on account of its newly acquired professional status.
The PSL, which chose to stay semi-pro, reportedly could not get the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to train and compete indoors.
“It’s not a factor at all (refusal to turn pro), there can’t be two professional leagues in a small country like ours,” said PSL chair Philip Juico.
Several other teams, including five-time champion F2 Logistics, have sent feelers about playing in the PVL and Palou, who was the chief financial officer of the PBA for five years during the term of the late commissioner Jun Bernardino, said that the PVL is not closing the door on them.
He did, however, say that “12 (teams) is the ideal number.”
The PVL is currently working with the Games and Amusements board to secure a go-signal from the IATF to begin indoor training and set an opening date for the tournament.
The PVL is eyeing a bubble-type tournament at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba.
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