MANILA, Philippines -- While satisfied with the staging of their inaugural professional conference, the organizers of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) are looking at a smoother, trouble-free campaign for its next tournament.
The PVL Open Conference concluded with a bang last Friday, with Chery Tiggo dethroning Creamline to emerge as champions.
Sports Vision, which organizes the league, is now looking at an October start for its next competition -- depending, of course, on the COVID-19 situation in the country.
"We're happy that we're able to hold it successfully," Sports Vision president Ricky Palou said of the Open Conference. "With God's mercy, we survived all the challenges."
"Besides, all teams were very cooperative," he added. "They made sure the players were kept safe, so everything worked out well."
The league was hosted by Ilocos Norte, although the tournament suffered an early snag when games had to be moved from the Centennial Arena in Laoag City to the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center in Bacarra due to the surge of coronavirus cases in the provincial capital.
When the competition was well under way, Sports Vision was forced to further compress the five-week schedule to meet the August 16 deadline, as the host province will be put under enhanced community quarantine due to a further spike in Delta variant cases.
"We discussed the issue with the teams, which in turn agreed to finish the whole thing," said Palou. "So we decided to do away with rest day(s) to comply with the time limits."
The league was finished in time but not without some setbacks.
The tight schedule took its toll on some teams, particularly Choco Mucho which played eight games in nine days. In Game 1 of its third-place series against Petro Gazz, team captain Maddie Madayag tore her ACL after an awkward landing in the fourth set.
Madayag aired her frustrations on social media, saying: "It is unfortunate that despite the intensive strengthening and training done prior to the league had to be negated all because of a rushed schedule."
"It pains me to have incurred such a heartbreaking injury when all I did before the competition was to take care of my body to avoid getting hurt," added Madayag, who previously suffered a torn ACL in 2016 while playing for Ateneo de Manila University.
Other players also suffered minor knocks during the conference, including Jeanette Panaga of Creamline (ankle), Shola Alvarez of PLDT (ankle), and Rachel Daquis of Cignal (groin).
Madayag did express her gratitude to the league organizers, saying: "This conference was truly difficult to organize and fully plan out given the current situation of our country and I am grateful for those who made the effort so that the games would push through."
Palou hailed all the teams that competed in the Open Conference, noting that it was an unpredictable tournament that featured many surprising games.
Even Chery Tiggo encountered road bumps en route to the finals, with losses to BaliPure and Sta. Lucia before they regained their bearings.
"We're glad that the teams managed to stay in shape and compete very well," said Palou. "That's what mattered most."