Volleyball coaches threw their full support behind the decision of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) to cancel the Grand Prix following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Edgar Barroga of Cignal lauded the league for such a bold move, saying that it sacrificed the season-opening conference to put premium on the health and safety of its athletes, coaches, officials, fans, sponsors and other stakeholders.
The HD Spikers are headed for a promising campaign with Cuban import Liannes Simone as well as veterans Jovelyn Gonzaga, Rachel Anne Daquis and Alohi Robins-Hardy at the helm.
They fashion a 1-1 win-loss slate and are tipped to give heavyweights like reigning champion Petron, F2 Logistics and Chery Tiggo a run for their money before the league took an indefinite break after President Duterte placed the country under enhanced community quarantine last week.
With that, the Grand Prix took a break and vowed to return as soon as the Chief Executive formally lifts the lockdown on 14 April.
But on Monday, the PSL announced that it is formally canceling its import-laced conference and would reset it as soon as the pandemic has subsided. Sideliners said it could be around October, or when the international transfer window for foreign players formally opens.
Barroga said the league made the right decision.
“I think the league just made the right decision to suspend the games because we also don’t want to risk anything,” said Barroga, whose daughter also used to play in the country’s premier women’s volleyball league.
“We wanted to keep our athletes healthy and safe because their bodies are their investments. They can’t afford to get sick at this point f their careers.”
Generika-Ayala mentor Sherwin Meneses added that calling off the ongoing conference is a step in the right direction as it gives the players, especially the imports, a chance to go home and be with their loved ones in this very trying time.
Marinerang Pilipina import Sara Cutura of Croatia was the first to fly out, but a score of foreign players are also willing to move out of the country to be with their respective families.
“After they sent us that memorandum, we immediately talked to our import, Elizabeth Vicet-Campos, to ask her if she wants to fly back to Cuba to be with her family,” Meneses said.
“We know that it’s very important for these players to be with their loved ones in this very challenging time.”
Barroga stressed that they will be ready whatever happens.
“Whatever happens next, we will be ready,” Barroga said, adding that the break could be a blessing in disguise as it would give them longer chance to prepare for the All-Filipino Conference in June.