Volleyball: PVL eyes Reinforced Conference in late 2022

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2021 04:52 PM

The PVL plans to hold two conferences in 2022. PVL Media Bureau.
The PVL plans to hold two conferences in 2022. PVL Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- After successfully holding its Open Conference in a bubble set-up earlier this year, the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) is eyeing a return to relatively normal operations in 2022.

The entirety of the Open Conference was held at the PCV Socio-Civic & Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, with the Chery Tiggo Crossovers emerging as champions by dethroning Creamline in the finals.

PVL president Ricky Palou has previously said that they intend to open the next season of the league in early 2022, something he reasserted during the Games and Amusements Board's monthly press conference recently.

"We plan to start our league conference sometime in February or early March," said Palou, who also expressed his gratitude to the PVL clubs for their cooperation in the bubble in Ilocos Norte.

In a September interview, Palou said that the next conference of the PVL will likely be held in a bubble as well, but he is now more optimistic that they can do away with that set-up.

This, as contact sports are now allowed in areas under Alert Level 2, which includes Metro Manila.

"We'd like to be able to conduct this, hopefully, we're looking at being able to conduct it here in Metro Manila," said Palou. "We hope that the IATF will allow us to have a few spectators to enjoy the sport."

After only holding the Open Conference in 2021, the PVL plans to bring back its Reinforced Conference next year.

"For next year, actually, we're looking at having two conferences, and hopefully in our second conference, we will have it with, we call it the Reinforced Conference, which means that we will have imports to strengthen and improve the lineups of all the teams," said Palou.

"Each team will be allowed two imports, and hopefully we'll be able to start this sometime in September or October," he added.

The PVL last held a Reinforced Conference in 2019, with the PetroGazz Angels winning a breakthrough title with help from the tandem of Cuba's Wilma Salas and American Janisa Johnson.

Bolstering the PVL's hopes of holding a Reinforced Conference is that the PBA has already been allowed to bring in imports for its Governors' Cup, which starts on December 8.

The PVL did not hold any competitions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Palou also confirmed that F2 Logistics will be joining the 2022 season of the PVL, after skipping the Open Conference over injury woes. The Cargo Movers recently returned to competitive volleyball through the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League, which they won in dominant fashion.

"They have decided this year to join the professional ranks. That will, of course, improve the competition of the league, as everybody who has been following volleyball knows that the F2 Logistics team is a strong team, and very competitive," Palou said of the Ramil de Jesus-coached F2 Logistics squad.

"So this will add more competition to Chery Tiggo, Creamline, Petro Gazz, and even Choco Mucho. We're looking at having an exciting 2022 year," he added.

Though they are planning for a busy year, Palou assured that they will give the women's national volleyball team plenty of time to prepare for its competitions in 2022, which includes the Southeast Asian Games in May and the Asian Games in September.

"We want to prepare our national team. We wanna give time for the national team to prepare for the international competitions," said Palou.