THE Premier Volleyball League launched its Invitational Conference in elaborate PSA Forum rites at the Century Park Hotel with seven teams all loaded up for another spirited battle for volley supremacy not just among themselves but also against two crack foreign squads stirring up play in the semis.
Creamline gears up for back-to-back championships after foiling Petro Gazz in the recent Open Conference but the Angels, along with the Chery Tiggo Crossovers, the Cignal HD Spikers, the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, the Army Black Mamba Troopers and the PLDT High Speed Hitters have toughened during the break in time for Invitationals firing off July 9 at the Fil-Oil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
A bit of nostalgia also marked the PVL second conference launch at the Badjao room of the posh hotel, which used to be the venue of the weekly sports forum for decades, particularly when the organizing Sports Vision revived the once dormant sport in 2004.
But the upcoming conference won’t be about memories but a fierce, feisty clash of power, style and cohesion with all teams setting out to leave a lasting mark in the country’s first-ever pro women’s volley league.
The Philippine Sportswriters Association, composed of the editors and writers of the country’s leading broadsheets and tabloids, has also been a top supporter of the league since Day One and continues to be so, hosting each of its conference launch while playing a big role in the development of the sport.
“We hope to sustain the momentum we gained in the Open Conference,” said Sports Vision president Ricky Palou during the forum also graced by Cignal TV inc. vice president for channels and content Sienna Olaso.
“For the Invitationals, we are spicing up things with the adding of two foreign teams. We are looking forward to another memorable season with them that, hopefully, our fans will enjoy.”
The PVL success also saw college volleyball thrive and become a huge hit, drawing record crowds the last decade or so while ensuring the steady flow of talents that has kept the league and the sport humming and buzzing through the years.
A pair of explosive matches kicks off hostilities to be aired live and on a delayed basis across multiple platforms, including TV and digital, with Cignal HD colliding with Army Black Mamba at 2:30 p.m. and Choco Mucho facing off with Chery Tiggo at 5:30 p.m.
All the games will be played at the San Juan venue except for the July 23 playdate that will feature Creamline against Choco Mucho, which will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Games will be aired live on One Sports (free to Air Ch 41 and Cignal CH 6) and One Sports+ (Cignal Ch 91 SD, Ch 261 HD) with both channels also available on Cignal’s OTT Platform, Cignal Play, with video on demand also available on the platform.
Matches can also be streamed on social media application KUMU and on the league’s official website pvl.ph. Livestream of the games will also be accessible on Smart GigaPlay, a platform exclusively for Smart subscribers.
The top four teams in the single round prelims will advance to the next stage with Japan’s Kobe Shinwa Women’s University and Chinese-Taipei’s Taipei King Whales joining the qualifiers in another round-robin competition.
“New Taipei is a strong team while Kobe Shinwa will be a force to be reckoned with,” said tournament director Tony Boy Liao.
The top two will dispute the crown in a winner-take-all finale while the third- and fourth-ranked squads clash for the bronze medal.
The last day of the tournament is tentatively scheduled on Aug. 14.