THE coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hasn't dampened the resolve of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) and the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) to put up a dream tournament featuring teams from both sides.
PSL president Dr. Ian Laurel and Ricky Palou, head of Sports Vision which organizes the PVL, have already held a series of meetings since December with the goal of finally seeing the Unity Cup come into fruition.
However, the pandemic has put a halt to the efforts.
"We've been in a series of meetings since December last year, to January and February. We're working towards a common goal of hopefully unifying volleyball to merge the PSL and PVL,” said Laurel. “Unfortunately, we were halted by the COVID-19 virus.”
Palou said that Unity Cup was planned to take place this year, but the wait will likely be longer following the pandemic that has put a stop to all mass gatherings including sports events.
“I’m talking with (PSL) chairman Philip Juico and may mga inaayos pa kami,” Palou said. “Initially dapat this year but yun nga with how the things are going with the coronavirus and everything baka next year na.”
The two said the Unity Cup will likely be an all-Filipino tournament since imports might be unavailable due to the travel restrictions.
“All-Filipino tayo kasi it’s difficult na may imports kasi we’re not yet sure if the countries where the imports will be from have their own travel restrictions or travel ban,” Laurel said.
Laurel said the PSL can field all its eight teams bannered by Grand Prix champion Petron, All-Filipino winner F2 Logistics, Cignal, Chery Tiggo, Sta. Lucia, Generika-Ayala, Marinerang Pilipina and PLDT.
The PVL can be represented by Open Conference champion Creamline, Reinforced Conference winner Petro Gazz, Army, BanKo, Choco Mucho, Motolite, Air Force and Chef’s Classics.
However, Palou has proposed to trim the field to the top four teams of each league since a 16-team tournament could derail the calendars of both the PSL and PVL.
“PSL wants all the teams involved. I met with the team owners before all of this noong January. The feeling of the team owners ng PVL ay eight teams ay masyadong mahaba ang tournament,” the PVL president said.
“They are looking at a shorter tournament. Maybe yung top four teams lang ng PVL and PSL and we will not play each other anymore kasi nga may ranking na rin naman sa mga liga para it will be a shorter tournament. Around two weeks siguro.”
There is a lot of uncertainty in the air, but Laurel assured that both leagues are fully-committed to make this dream tournament happen.
“I cannot say at what percent we are towards our goal kasi there are still things that we need to settle like the officiating, the tournament format, among others. So I cannot say na talagang on the go na,” Laurel said.
“But I can say that both parties are one hundred percent committed on working together.”
“As soon as the government will announce that it is safe to hold sports events again such as the PBA, or volleyball tournaments such as ours, we will get back to work and get back where we left off in our talks,” Laurel said.