MANILA, Philippines -- Cignal HD, one of the original teams of the Philippine Superliga (PSL), has officially exited the league -- leaving the PSL with just three full-time members.
PSL chairman Philip Ella "Popoy" Juico revealed during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday that Cignal informed them on Monday that it is "joining the other league."
"We were told, again with very little notice, like what happened in the case of PLDT," he said.
Both Cignal and PLDT have transferred to the Premier Volleyball League (PVL), which begins its first professional season in May. Three teams -- Petron, Marinerang Pilipina, and Generika -- have already taken a leave of absence from the PSL as well.
Cignal's exit from the PSL has wide-ranging implications. The league now only has three regular members -- Sta. Lucia, Cherry Tiggo and F2 Logistics. PetroGazz, a PVL franchise, is supposed to join the PSL as a guest team provided that there is no scheduling conflict.
Moreover, this development has compelled the league to change its broadcast partner.
"If Cignal is joining the other league, we have no other reason, sensible reason to stay in TV5," said Juico. "We have to adjust to the reality of the situation, to the signs of the times."
Despite the upheaval, Juico touted the strength of the league, insisting that the teams that remain are "very committed." They already have plans to start a beach volleyball tournament later this month, while talks are underway for an indoor competition.
"Despite these so-called movements, or some people call it raid or poaching, I just smile at that," said Juico. "We remain as strong as before, stronger now because the teams that we have are very committed, and we are starting anew."
"So, we're starting afresh, and we are negotiating with them to air the beach volleyball which is on February 26, and then we are making adjustments for the indoor volleyball while we await the new rules that the Department of Health is supposed to provide, the new guidelines, for allowing commercial or non-professional leagues to play," he added.
Juico is also optimistic that they can add at least two more teams to their roster for the indoor tournament. For the beach volleyball event, eight teams will compete with Sta. Lucia and United Auctioneers fielding in two teams each.
"We are concerned but we are not anxious. We know that we can do this, because the league has been a successful league, it has a reputation," he stressed.