MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine volleyball will greatly benefit from the entry of four new teams into the Premier Volleyball League (PVL), as the country's best teams and best players will finally get to play against one another.
This, according to PVL president Ricky Palou who on Tuesday welcomed Chery Tiggo and Sta. Lucia as the league's newest full-time members, bringing the total number of PVL clubs to 11.
"They have asked to join the PVL as full members, as full-fledged members," Palou told ABS-CBN News. "They've asked to join, and we've accepted them as full-time members."
Cignal and PLDT, which transferred to the PVL last week, will also be full-time members, said Palou.
The four teams, which formerly competed in the Philippine Superliga, join Creamline, Choco Mucho, PetroGazz, Perlas, BaliPure, the Unlimited Athletes Club, and Philippine Army in the PVL. Philippine Air Force has opted not to participate in the upcoming season, Palou revealed.
Even without the Lady Jet Spikers, the PVL still features a star-studded cast when it opens its first season as a professional league in May.
For Palou, this can only mean good things for the local volleyball landscape as he expects the level of competition in the PVL to improve, even after a year that saw virtually all players go on hiatus from the sport because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're elated," said Palou. "At least now, all the teams will be able to play against each other, so all the best players in the land are in these teams. We will see the best players in the land competing against each other."
"We're happy about this development. I think it will be good for volleyball in the Philippines, it will be good for the league, and it will be good for fans, we can provide more entertainment and more excitement, 'di ba," he added.
This will also be beneficial to the Philippine national team, as the federation's decision-makers can now see the country's best go up against one another on a regular basis.
"You've got a good way to come up with a really good national team for volleyball," said Palou.
Meanwhile, Palou made it clear that he has not had any discussions with F2 Logistics, the lone team that remains in the PSL. Even before the exodus of Cignal, PLDT, Chery Tiggo and Sta. Lucia, three teams -- Generika-Ayala, Petron, and Marinerang Pilipinas -- had already taken a leave of absence from the league.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to PSL chairman Popoy Juico for a statement regarding the recent developments but he has yet to respond, as of posting.
"They (F2 Logistics) have not tried to call or try to talk to me. I have also not, because I don't want to appear I'm pirating the teams of the other league," Palou stressed.
"If they wanna talk to me, I'll talk to them. But I'm not gonna go out of my way and say and ask them to transfer to my league, 'di ba? I want them to do that on their own volition," he added.
The PVL is expected to start its Open Conference on May 8 in a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.