MANILA, Philippines -- Teams have begun arriving in Subic Bay ahead of the Philippine Superliga's (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup, which gets going on Friday morning.
The Abanse Negrense teams arrived Tuesday afternoon and will undergo saliva tests for COVID-19, after which they will quarantine for 24 hours while waiting for their results. The Olongapo chapters of the Philippine Red Cross will administer the tests.
The rest of the eight-team field will arrive on Wednesday, according to Ginio Panganiban, the PSL's director for beach volleyball.
"Napakaganda po ng court ng beach volleyball dito sa Subic," Panganiban said on Tuesday's Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum, as he showed a glimpse of the sand court that will serve as the tournament venue.
It is the same sand court used in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, according to PSL chairman Philip Ella "Popoy" Juico.
The event will be held in a bubble format, with the teams housed in a hotel that is within walking distance of the competition venue.
"We don't need to use transportation, so the risk is minimized. Lalakarin lang namin," said Panganiban. "We go out the door of our hotel, and a few steps away, that's going to be our controlled area for the bubble."
Aside from the two Abanse Negrense teams, also competing in the Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup are: two teams from Sta. Lucia, guest team Kennedy Solar Energy-PetroGazz, F2 Logistics, United Auctioneers Inc., and Toby Sports.
The teams are divided into two pools, with squads from the same company separated. Pool play starts at 8 a.m. on Friday.
"Everything is in order," Juico assured.
The PSL Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup is the first volleyball event to be held in the Philippines since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the PSL was forced to cancel its Grand Prix because of the health crisis.
Juico is now hoping that the event will just be the beginning.
"We hope this can trigger a flurry of activities, all within the regulations mandated by the authorities," he said.
The PSL Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup was initially scheduled for November 2020, but the league opted to reschedule the competition in the wake of Typhoon Rolly.