PVL backs national women’s team

PVL backs national women’s team

The Premier Volleyball League is throwing its full support behind the Philippine women's volleyball team's campaign in the Phnom Penh Southeast Asian Games next year.

Aside from allowing its players to suit up for the national team, the country's first and only professional women's volleyball league has adjusted its 2023 calendar to allow the squad enough time to prepare for the regional sports meet set to run from 5 to 17 May.

PVL organizer Sports Vision president Ricky Palou said the league is planning to start the season-opening tournament Open Conference in early February.

"We want to start on February 4 and end by the end of March or early April to give the national team enough time to train by themselves," Palou told the Daily Tribune.

Following the planned timetable for the all-Filipino tournament, the Jorge Souza de Brito-mentored national team will have more than a month to prepare for the SEA Games.

"We're not really running on a tight schedule (for the Open Conference), it's just the same as last time but we're just starting earlier to give enough time for the national team to train," Palou explained.

The Filipina spikers suffered a heartbreak last year in the Hanoi edition after dropping a four-set match against Indonesia in the battle for bronze that left the Philippines missing the podium again since finishing third back in 2005.

Palou added that the league is closely working with the Philippine National Volleyball Federation to have their calendars synchronized.

"I think there's a plan to send them abroad to train for two or three weeks. So, we want to give them enough time to do this," he said.

"In the meantime, our plan is to have them train with the national team about two or three times a week if possible."

However, the PNVF has yet to notify the league of the players that will be included in the national pool.

The federation initially announced that it will be sending a roster of purely professional players to major international tournaments. But the national volleyball association leadership decided to include in the selection handpicked players from the collegiate ranks and some from the teams which participated in the PNF Champions League for Women last month.

"We're waiting for coach Jorge to write to us about which players they are interested in putting in the pool," the PVL official said.

"When they write to us, we will then talk to the teams to release their players to allow them to (train with the national team)."

The league has been actively supporting the national team since 2004 when it was still in the amateur ranks.

In fact, the PVL loaned the Open and Invitational Conference champions Creamline to don the tricolor this year in a couple of international tournaments.

This came after the PNVF dissolved its original national squad selection composed of college players with the majority coming from University Athletic Association of the Philippines titlist National University due to alleged "commitment issues" as announced by the federation's leadership.

Despite missing the services of the national team veteran and ace hitter Alyssa Valdez, who contracted dengue, the Filipinas achieved its best finish in the 2022 Asian Volleyball Confederation Asian Cup for Women at sixth place.

The Cool Smashers again carried the country's banner when they joined the ASEAN Grand Prix in Thailand.

Hopes are high for the national squad in next year's SEA Games edition as most players have returned to their usual grind especially with the PVL staging three conferences this year with more relaxed Covid-19 restrictions.

Palou assured that the PVL will extend a helping hand for national duty.

"Of course, we are always committed to giving our 100 percent support to the national team," he said.

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