MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines will almost certainly host the 2021 Asian Women's Volleyball Championship after the original host, China, backed out.
Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) President Ramon "Tats" Suzara said in a media briefing on Wednesday that it was "99%" certain the country will host the biennial event in a bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
"China backed out, and the AVC (Asian Volleyball Confederation) requested the Philippines to host the championships," he explained.
The Philippines previously hosted the tournament in 2017 in Biñan, Laguna, where Japan emerged as champions over Thailand. The Philippine women's team placed eighth overall in the event.
Suzara said they expect 14 to 16 teams to participate in the tournament.
The Angeles University Foundation (AUF) Gym will serve as the main venue for the games, while the San Fernando Convention Center and Subic Gym will be the secondary halls. The teams will likely be billeted at the Quest Hotel.
The event will thus follow a similar set-up to what was done by the PBA in its bubble in Clark last year, as well as what will be done by FIBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers next month.
"If FIBA Asia will be in AUF, susunod ang volleyball naman," said Suzara.
The federation president guaranteed that all health and safety protocols will be strictly followed by all involved.
"We will follow all the rules," Suzara said.
As the event will take place in a bubble, no fans will be allowed to watch the games in person.
The 2021 Asian Women's Volleyball Championship will be the first major test for the Philippine women's volleyball team this year, following their sparsely-attended tryout in Subic last April 28. On Wednesday, the PNVF named all 16 players who attended to the national team pool, with four to six more players to be added in the coming weeks.
Incoming Brazilian head coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito will choose the last few members of the pool together with Coach Odjie Mamon when he arrives in July.
After the AVC competition, the women's national team will then turn its attention to the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in November.