It appears that the professional season of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) will finally kick off this July 17 after Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc gave the PVL the go-signal to start its bubble tournament.
In a letter addressed to PVL president Ricky Palou, Manotoc allowed the league to proceed with its Open Conference from July 17 to August 20, 2021, featuring 10 teams in 57 matches.
“The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte has stepped up our ‘sports tourism’ potential by hosting training bubbles of various national sports teams to aid in the stable recovery of our province,” the statement read.
“In line with this, we are pleased to inform you that your request to conduct the Open Conference of PVL from July 17, 2021, to August 20, 2021, under an Athletic Bubble Type Training competition, is approved,” it added.
Meanwhile, Palou thanked as well as the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) for the approval.
“We are grateful to Gov. Matthew Manotoc for hosting us and to the Games and Amusements Board, headed by chairman Baham Mitra, for licensing us,” he said. “We're elated that we will be able to start the first professional season of the league.”
However, in a separate press conference on Friday, GAB revealed that the province is planning to heighten its quarantine restrictions which might jeopardize the supposed July opening of the PVL.
“We will be meeting with the leadership of the Premier Volleyball League later. Ang schedule kasi sa Ilocos, pero mukhang magtataas sila ng quarantine nila, so they may have to move somewhere else,” GAB chairman Baham Mitra said.
He also said that Palou is set to meet the local government of the province on Friday to clarify their opening.
“Sir Ricky Palou called me just now. He is on his way to Ilocos and he will be meeting with the governor. Gusto kasi ng governor na iakyat ang quarantine levels so baka maapektuhan 'yung opening nila. Kasi dun sa joint admin order pag mataas 'yung quarantine levels 'di puwede,” Mitra shared.
Should Ilocos Norte not be available for PVL, Mitra is hoping that the volleyball tournament will also be allowed in Metro Manila just like the PBA.
Palou first confirmed the development late June, as the league gears up for its opening after several delays brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league, which turned professional in November 2020, initially planned to start its Open Conference in May in a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
However, those plans had to be shelved after the government imposed stricter quarantine measures in NCR Plus due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
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