After eventful offseason, PVL braces for All-Filipino tourney

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2023 02:27 PM

The PVL All-Filipino Conference starts on February 4. Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News.
The PVL All-Filipino Conference starts on February 4. Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA, Philippines -- The head honcho of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) expects another exciting tournament when the All-Filipino Conference starts on Feb. 4, amid a bevy of changes made by the participating clubs. 

The offseason saw plenty of player and coaching movement, with big names including Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Myla Pablo switching teams. High-profile coaches such as Dante Alinsunurin and Oliver Almadro also headed to different clubs. 

"All the teams, year in and year out, are trying to improve their line-up. This year, we saw a lot of player movements from one team to another team," PVL President Ricky Palou said in a press conference at the Discovery Suites Manila in Ortigas, Saturday.

"The reason for this is because these teams want to beef up their line-ups and beef up their strengths. I'm sure, all the teams now will be more competitive than in the past," he guaranteed. "I'm sure the fans will enjoy this."

Palou himself is expecting more exciting games in the All-Filipino Conference, even with players still adjusting to their new homes and the new systems of their coaches. 

Among those who switched teams is Santiago-Manabat, who ended a long stay with Chery Tiggo to sign with the Akari Power Chargers. Pablo, for her part, moved from Petro Gazz to F2 Logistics. Chery Tiggo, meanwhile, added Pauline Gaston along with Seth Rodriguez and Bingle Landicho. 

A pair of players from the University of Santo Tomas bid their school an early goodbye to turn pro: Ysa Jimenez signed with PLDT, and Camille Victoria is now with Akari.

As for coaches, there were also several changes. Almadro was appointed as the new coach of PetroGazz just months after leaving Choco Mucho, while the Flying Titans will now be helmed by Dante Alinsunurin. Shortly before the start of the tournament, Chery Tiggo announced that Aaron Velez will be back as their head coach.

"Even myself, I'm expecting the games to be more exciting this time. The teams have recruited players to strengthen their line-up so we expect a really good All-Filipino Conference this time around," said Palou. 

The league changed the name of the tournament from the Open to the All-Filipino Conference, with Palou explaining that they are limiting the participants to Filipino players.

They will still follow the format of last season's Reinforced Conference, wherein the nine participating teams will feature in a single-round robin elimination phase. The top four teams advance to the semifinals which will once again be a single-round robin affair.

The top two teams after the semis will face off in a best-of-3 series for the championship, and the third- and fourth-ranked teams will battle for third place in another best-of-3 series.