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‘Good samaritan’ — Lao eyeing second volleyball squad?


‘I just don’t know if he will retain the coaches or the players or he will start from scratch. Whatever it is, his entry will be perfect as it will maintain the ideal 12 squads in the league.’

PHOTOGRAPH courtesy of PVL FRANK Lao is said to be interested in owning another PVL squad.

Restaurateur Frank Lao is said to be looking to own another team in the Premier Volleyball League.

According to a Daily Tribune source, Lao is interested in acquiring Gerflor after its team owners faced financial difficulty that led to its disbandment in the country’s professional women’s volleyball league.

Coached by veteran mentor Sammy Acaylar, the Defenders had a forgettable PVL stint after suffering 16 consecutive losses dating back from the Invitational Conference up to the recent All-Filipino Conference.

Worse, the Defenders failed to receive their salary and allowances, prompting some of them to float their sentiments in social media.

Then, Lao, who owns Farm Fresh, came to the rescue and rallied behind the Defenders similar to the support he is giving to multiple varsity teams like College of Saint Benilde men’s basketball team, Letran College and University of the East juniors basketball teams as well as UE women’s basketball.

In the Philippine Basketball Association, he is supporting Converge with his son, Jacob, serving as team manager.

“He was our ‘Good Samaritan,’” a member of the team told Daily Tribune in a telephone conversation.

“When he learned that we were having financial troubles, he dug into his pocket to cover our salaries and allowances. I’m not sure about the exact figure, but I think it’s north of P2 million. It’s really a huge amount.”

The source said they were no longer surprised when Lao expressed interest in acquiring another PVL squad.

He said Lao is expected to sit down with PVL president Ricky Palou to further discuss his acquisition of another PVL team.

“They will talk after the holidays,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity pending the official announcement of Lao and the PVL.

“I just don’t know if he will retain the coaches or the players or he will start from scratch. Whatever it is, his entry will be perfect as it will maintain the ideal 12 squads in the league.”

If and when Lao formally acquires the Defenders, he will be the third team owner to have two squads in the PVL.

Also having two teams are the Republic Biscuit Corporation and Akari Lighting & Technology.

Rebisco owns two of the top teams in the league, Creamline and Choco Mucho, who figured in an action-packed finals battle witnessed by a record crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Akari, for its part, owns Akari and Nxled, who are both expected to emerge as serious contenders in the years to come,

Prior to that, United Asia Automotive Group also used to own two teams — Foton and Chery Tiggo — before the former disbanded early this year.

In a statement to Daily Tribune, Palou stressed that they are determined to welcome two new team owners to fill the void created by the disbandment of F2 Logistics and Gerflor.

So far, three to four companies already expressed interest in joining the league but nothing formal had been reached.

“We’ll know more by next year,” he said without identifying those who expressed interest.

“But we will add two new teams to maintain our format of having 12 teams.”

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