Similar to what is done by Indonesia with its Proliga and Thailand with its Volleyball Thailand League, Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) president Ramon “Tats” Suzara announced Tuesday that the federation would launch its own national league in July.
During the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum, Suzara reiterated that eight of the best teams all over the country are tipped to participate in the inaugural season of a national league to be owned and operated by the federation.
“Wala tayong national league eh. We have so many leagues, but we don’t have our own federation league,” said Suzara, who stressed that he would propose that the league be called the PNVF Champions League.
“We want to have a federation-owned national league. This is the same as in Thailand and in Indonesia. Walang PVL, UAAP, o PSL – we want to have the top eight teams, including one in Visayas and Mindanao,” added Suzara.
Reiterating that the league will start five months from now, the PNVF president added: “May kanya-kanyang liga pa ang mga players, so I think July is a very good date.”
Furthermore, the “PNVF Champions League” will take place after the opening of the first professional season of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL), which is tentatively scheduled for May in a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Superliga (PSL) also plans to hold competitions this year. However, it has yet to announce a full schedule.
With regards to the government’s COVID-19 protocols, Suzara said: “I’m not sure kung pwedeng open yan or hindi, but I’m looking at a bubble-type, kung talagang restricted pa rin ang COVID.”
“Of course, with the approval by the IATF and the support (of the government),” he added.
Only professional leagues are allowed by the government to resume competitions in 2020, with the Games and Amusements Board closely monitoring their operations. The Philippines Football League, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, and the PBA all held successful tournaments in different “bubbles” last year.
Volleyball superstars Alyssa Valdez, Aby Maraño, and Jaja Santiago expressed their excitement with the great news. The three also took part in the aforementioned forum.
“Sobrang excited talaga ako sa pag-unify nitong volleyball natin. At least man lang, ma-experience namin na may isang league na magkakasama kami ulit. Nakaka-miss na makalaban sina Alyssa and the other girls from PVL,” said Maraño.
“Kapag nagsama-sama kami sa isang liga, lahat tumataas, umaangat yung level of volleyball performance,” added Maraño, who is currently playing in the PSL under the most decorated PSL club, the F2 Logistics.
For her part, Valdez, who currently plays in the PVL under the Creamline Coolsmashers, said: “New challenge, new motivation. Iba ‘yung excitement na mararamdaman mo, lalo na magkakaroon ng tournament to play against each other. And definitely, this will actually help the growth of Philippine volleyball, not only for the women’s but also for the men’s.”
“Magiging madali na lang sa national team na bumuo kasi hindi na kailangang magpaalam pa dito sa club team na ito,” said Santiago, who recently played for Saitama in Japan V.League.
“At least kapag sama-sama na tayo, iisa na lang. Kumbaga madali na lang para sa ating lahat na magsama-sama,” added Santiago, who, just like Maraño, is playing in the PSL under the Chery Tiggo.