Sports Vision, the organizers of the Premier Volleyball League promises to produce an even better tournament when the second conference kicks off later this year.
While the recently concluded Open Conference had its fair share of hiccups due to the Covid-19 conditions and quarantine restrictions, Sports Vision president Ricky Palou said they were happy things still turned out well.
“We’re happy we’re able to hold it successfully,” said Palou. “With God’s mercy, we survived all the challenges. Besides, all teams were very cooperative. They made sure the players were kept safe. So everything worked out well.”
Palou also expressed his gratitude to the Ilocos Norte government, particularly Gov. Matthew Manotoc, for hosting the launch of the country’s first pro volley league although the tournament had to be transferred from the Centennial Arena in Laoag City to the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center in Bacarra due to the surge of coronavirus cases in the provincial capital.
And as the Delta variant ushered in another deadly wave, Sports Vision was forced to compress the five-week schedule towards the end of the elims to the finals to meet the Aug. 16 deadline before the host province is placed under ECQ.
“We discussed the issue with the teams, which in turn agreed to finish the whole thing,” said Palou. “So, we decided to do away with the rest days to comply with the time limits.”
However, this move was not without any consequences as some teams, namely Choco Mucho, suffered key losses. The Flying Titans lost blocked Maddie Madayag to an ACL tear following a bad landing during Game One of their best-of-three series for third with Petro Gazz.
The Choco Mucho captain took to social media to air her sentiments and frustrations.
“It is unfortunate that despite the intensive strengthening and training done prior to the league had to be negated all because of a rushed schedule,” said Madayag, who also sustained an ACL tear in 2016, in her post. “It pains me to have incurred such a heartbreaking injury when all I did before the competition was to take care of my body to avoid getting hurt.”
Despite this, Madayag expressed her gratitude to the league organizers, saying: "This conference was truly difficult to organize and fully plan out given the current situation of our country and I am grateful for those who made the effort so that the games would push through.”
In the end, it was Jaja Santiago, Dindin Manabat and the rest of the Chery Tiggo Crossovers that came up on top, beating Creamline in the finals.
“There were a lot of surprises. Most games were unpredictable,” said Palou. “We’re glad that the teams managed to stay in shape and compete very well. That’s what mattered most.” (JNP)