In early February, we finally had a new national sports association for volleyball, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation. It was born out of necessity as the international volleyball body, the FIVB, ordered local stakeholders to hold an election.
Though there may have been some reluctance in some sectors, at least, the creation of the new NSA served as the first step in Philippine volleyball moving forward from a sordid era.
Last year, during the Covid pandemic and Philippine sports was forced to fall into two categories, amateur and pro, to determine which falls under the Games and Amusements Board (professionals) and the Philippine Sports Commission, the two rival volleyball leagues were forced to make a decision, recognized itself as a professional league or continue to pretend to be semi-professional.
The result, the Super Liga lost most of its team to the Philippine Volleyball League when it chose not to turn pro, saying the country can’t sustain two professional leagues.
In a way, that is true, if we think of pro leagues traditionally. But there’s a way for two pro leagues to co-exist and even support each other if only the stakeholders are to think radically and, of course, shed politics and pride.
Think of a two-tier pro league with promotion and relegation.
That’s a radical concept and an erstwhile non-bearing games of the bottom-ranked teams would be just as interesting as the battle for the title.
Of course, that’s only possible if the local professional circuit is under one body with one vision.
But now that we have the PNVF, shouldn’t we give it the old college try? It wasn’t possible of course with two groups — the Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas and the Philippine Volleyball Federation — fighting for recognition.
Now that we only have one, why not consider such concept? In the long run, it will be a major boost to the professional scene, having only one body that controls two pro divisions who don’t have to fight each other for players.
A two-tier professional league. A diamond formed in the rough that was the pre-PNVF era.
Well, one can dream, right?