Asian volley official graces PSL opener
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - No less than the executive vice president of the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) has given his blessing to the Philippine Super Liga (PSL), a pioneering women’s club tournament that really has nowhere to go but up.

“This is a good start because your country has a good history in volleyball,” said Shanrit Wongprasert, who’s in the country to witness tomorrow’s inaugural games of the PSL tournament at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

The respected volleyball official from Thailand graced yesterday’s press launch at Wack Wack. He was joined by PSL chairman Philip Juico, PSL president Ramon Suzara, PSL commissioner Ian Laurel and Philippine Volleyball Federation head Karl Chan.

“I’m sure we will all go far together,” said Wongprasert, adding that it’s never too late for the Philippines, which used to be a power in Southeast Asia when it comes to volleyball, to catch up with their counterparts.

Six teams made up of players who are through with their collegiate years will compete in the first PSL conference. It’s a short one with only eight playing days leading to the finals. Games on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays will be aired by Solar Sports on a slightly delayed basis.

The teams are PLDT myDSL, Cignal HD, Philippine Army, Cagayan de Oro, Petron and PCSO-Bingo Milyonaryo. Laurel said it’s difficult to say which team is favored over the others.

“It’s hard to say. I can’t make a prediction,” he said although a coach who was present in yesterday’s press launch pointed to Petron, Cagayan de Oro and PCSO-Bingo Milyonaryo as the teams to beat.

The Philippines had definitely seen better days in the sport. But after many years of silence, it hit rock-bottom, and thanks to the sport’s new-found popularity, the opportunity to form the PSL came.

There are high expectations.

“In other Southeast Asian countries volleyball is very much alive. But with the renewal and revival of Philippine volleyball, it’s time to end our isolation from the rest of the world,” said Juico.

Juico looked to his left and thanked the AVF vice president for his presence.

“Your presence is a strong signal that we’re heading toward right direction and that we can count on the Asian Volleyball Confederation. We will be with you,” said the president of Wack Wack.

Suzara, also chairman of the AVC development and marketing committee, said from a club league he expects the PSL to turn into a commercial league and eventually a professional league.

He said even before the start of the maiden conference, four clubs are knocking on their doors for inclusion in the next conference in September.

Soon, the teams will be allowed to field two imports each (not restricted to Asians) and there are also plans to invite one foreign team for each conference.

Suzara knows success doesn’t come overnight.

“We don’t want to be too ambitious. We want to test the tide first. First, we want to make the team owners happy. We want to start as modest and as humble,” said Suzara, who stressed that the PSL is also here to support the national team.

“The national team needs all the support,” he said.

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