MANILA, Philippines -- The local clubs of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) are looking forward to testing their skills against guest teams from Chinese Taipei and Japan in the Invitational Conference next month.
The Kobe Shinwa Women's University team and KingWhale Taipei will join the top four local teams in the semifinals of the conference, which unwraps on July 9 at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Already, PVL players are excited to test their skills against the foreign clubs, believing that it can only improve their quality and raise the level of play in the league.
"Personally, excited ako," said Jovelyn Gonzaga, who will return to indoor volleyball with Army-Black Mamba after representing the country in beach volleyball. "Hindi sila pwede i-underestimate."
Mika Reyes is already familiar with Kobe Shinwa, which previously competed as a guest team in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) back in 2017. She warns that while they may be a collegiate team, they can give the PVL squads a run for their money.
"I can say na kahit collegiate team sila, hindi po sila dapat ina-underestimate kasi makikita sa galaw nila na mas pulido sila," she explained. "Siguro, mas nakaka-challenge din po for us and 'yung sa pride namin, na professional na [kami]."
KingWhale should also pose a challenge for PVL clubs, as it placed second in the 2021 season of the Taiwan Enterprise Volleyball League. PVL President Ricky Palou called them "one of the better club teams in Taiwan."
As for Kobe Shinwa, Palou agreed with the assessment of the PVL players. "We should not take them for granted, because they're one of the top collegiate teams in Japan," he said. "They're going to be a team to reckon with also."
The PVL Invitational Conference will feature seven local club teams competing in a single round-robin to determine the top four that will advance to the semifinals. They will again play in a single round-robin, this time including the guest teams.
The top two teams will face off in a one-game final for the gold, while the third and fourth seed will play one game for third place.