PSL heading for right direction
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - November 20, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Since its birth in July 2013, the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) has continued to serve notice of its primary objective as the country’s first and only high-level club tournament.

In its short years of existence, the PSC has already proven that it’s here to stay.

“We’re are here for the players and the volleyball fans,” said Ramon Suzara, PSL president and CEO who also holds sensitive positions in the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC).

Suzara is one of the brains behind the PSL, joined in its formative stages by its chairman, Philip “Ella” Juico, and a solid working group at SportsCore.

Together, they’ve turned the PSL from an ambitious experimental league into one that caters strongly to collegiate players wanting to build a professional playing career.

During its launch, Suzara, a marketing genius, said all they wanted was to “test the tide” while keeping a “model and humble” profile.

“Now I can say that we’ve progressed tremendously,” said Suzara, a member of the FIVB development commission and head of the AVC developmental and marketing committee.

The PSL is currently running a Grand Prix event with six teams and a dozen foreign players, plus the All-Filipino Conference and Beach Volley Challenge in its 2015 calendar.

In the fold are teams Cignal, Foton, Meralco, Petron, Philips Gold and RC Cola, and crowd-drawers Jheck Dionela, Myla Pablo, Jaja Santiago, Mika Reyes, Rachel Anne Daquis, Abigail Marano and Michelle Gumabao.

The PSL, with matches shown on free TV, never runs out of bright ideas.

“We’ve created a lot of impact with our innovations and new technologies,” said Suzara, referring to the video challenge that’s been implemented this season.

It’s a system that costs no less than P2.5 million and requires 26 cameras that are used to review crucial plays that are contested during the match.

“It’s an investment. The PSL is the first in Asia to use the technology in a club tournament,” said the PSL president.

“We’re never running out of ideas. What I learn from the international competitions I attend we try to inject in the PSL. We don’t stop innovating,” he added.

Suzara said he wants the PSL to become the number one family sports entertainment in the country, and already there are new ideas to help draw the families to the games.

“Having the matches aired on free TV also helps. But the fans are coming to the venues since our intention is to entertain. We have a lot of activities,” he said.

“We have increased ticket sales even on weekdays. And we’re all very happy. Our followers have grown in number,” Suzara added.

Through the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI), the sport’s governing body in the country headed by Jose Romasanta, the PSL is also looking for ways to make the environment a healthier one for all stakeholders.

“We need to fix our respective calendars so there’s no friction. I hope that by the end of the year we can all sit down and talk with the help of the LVPI,” said Suzara.

The country’s top two collegiate leagues, the UAAP and the NCAA, and the Shakey’s V-League, which has been around for over 10 years, should have one common objective.

“We should all sit down and cooperate. By fixing our calendars, we will make it easier for the players to focus in their careers. It will also be easier for the advertisers,” said Suzara.

“Then we will all be in the right direction,” he said.

ABIGAIL MARANO AND MICHELLE GUMABAO ACIRC ALL-FILIPINO CONFERENCE AND BEACH VOLLEY CHALLENGE ASIAN VOLLEYBALL CONFEDERATION GRAND PRIX INTERNATIONAL VOLLEYBALL FEDERATION JAJA SANTIAGO JHECK DIONELA JOSE ROMASANTA PSL SUZARA
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