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PVL vows to scrutinize potential members

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PVL PVL president Ricky Palou vows to scrutinize the new teams who will join them for their 20th season.

After a banner season capped by a record-breaking finale, the Premier Volleyball League is opening its door for new teams who want to be part of its 20th season next year.

PVL president Ricky Palou told Daily Tribune that they are looking for two new members who will fill the void created by the departure of F2 Logistics and Gerflor following their highly-successful All-Filipino Conference last week.

A former Ateneo de Manila University athletic director and board member of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Palou said they want are set to carefully screen the applicants to make sure that they have the capacity to come up with competitive teams that can give heavyweights Creamline, Choco Mucho, Cignal and Chery Tiggo a run for their money.

Both under Republic Biscuit Corporation, Creamline and Choco Mucho slugged it out in a best-of-three title showdown last week. Game 2 was a massive success as it attracted a record crowd of 24,459 — a number that shattered the previous record of 22,848 spectators who witnessed Game 3 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines best-of-three finals between Ateneo and De La Salle University in 2016.

So far, at least two to three major companies have already expressed interest to join but Palou declined to name them pending their formal submission of application.

“At least two to three companies have already sent feelers to join. But we can’t reveal it yet because they haven’t sent us anything formal,” Palou said in a telephone conversation.

“We need two new members who will replace F2 Logistics and Gerflor to maintain our ideal membership size of 12 teams. We’ll know more right after the holidays, maybe around early January.”

F2 Logistics, which is bannered by the core of La Salle, was a giant in professional volleyball when it was still competing at the defunct Philippine Superliga.

But its luster had faded when it moved to the PVL with its head coach, Ramil de Jesus, taking a leave of absence while its players had been hampered by various injuries.

The Cargo Movers finished the All-Filipino Conference at the eighth spot with only four wins in 11 matches, prompting their team owners to pull the plug and divert their support to their grassroots sports program.

Daily Tribune sources said potential team owners want to acquire the F2 Logistics squad lock, stock, and barrel. But it appears impossible at this point as some players — and their respective agents — are already talking to other teams in a bid to secure contracts before the year ends.

Gerflor, which only joined the league last June, had a different story.

The management of the Defenders struggled with financial challenges, prompting it to miss the payment for the allowances and salaries of its players, coaches and staff.

The crisis ended after an investor agreed to shoulder the operational expenses, allowing the Defenders to get paid and finish the season-ending conference.

Palou said they will make sure that the controversy will not happen again.

“We have to make sure that they have the financial capacity to assemble a competitive team,” said Palou, who also used to be a ranking Philippine Basketball Association official under the leadership of the late commissioner Emilio “Jun” Bernardino.

“We will scrutinize their company profiles to ensure their stability and commitment to have a long-term partnership with us.”

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