PVL Invitational opens on June 27 with 11 local teams, 2 foreign squads
MANILA, Philippines — It is all systems go for the 2023 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference as 13 teams — including two foreign squads joining in the semifinal round — clash for the midseason crown starting June 27 at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The PVL on Friday confirmed the participation of the Foton Tornadoes, who will join two other expansion teams the Farm Fresh Foxies and the Gerflor Defenders.
“With volleyball in the country growing by leaps and bounds over the past decade, we feel that it’s about time to increase the number of member teams in the PVL,” said league president Ricky Palou.
“This will not only bring more excitement for our fans but also provide players with more opportunities to have a career in volleyball. The new teams are also committed to staying with us in the long term,” he added.
Foton, which will be composed of some players from its sister team Chery Tiggo, is returning to the volleyball scene after four years.
“We are happy that the league and the member teams allowed us to join starting with the Invitational Conference,” said team manager Aaron Velez, who also calls the shots for Chery Tiggo. “With two teams, this will give our company added exposure and our players a chance to further hone their skills.”
The PVL has now three sister teams including Creamline and Choco Mucho as well as Cignal and PLDT.
Farm Fresh, which will be composed of College of Saint Benilde players and coach Jerry Yee, and the Edgar Barroga-coached Gerflor are also happy to be part of the country’s professional volleyball league.
“The PVL is a big platform to introduce our product, which is the first real fresh milk in the market,” said Foxies team manager Janica Lao. “Though we are a new team, chemistry won’t be a problem for us since the Lady Blazers never really stopped training even after the NCAA season.”
“We are thrilled to finally be a part of the PVL. We have organized and participated in several leagues to qualify for the opportunity to compete in the PVL, which we believe is the most prestigious league in the country. Being a part of the PVL is already an honor and accomplishment for our volleyball club,” said Defenders team manager Jordan Tolentino.
The 11 squads will be separated into two groups with defending champion Creamline headlining Pool A with Chery Tiggo, PLDT, Akari, and Gerflor.
Group B will feature six teams bannered by Petro Gazz, F2 Logistics, Choco Mucho, Cignal, Farm Fresh, and Foton.
The top two teams in each pool will advance to the round-robin semifinals, where two foreign squads will join. The squads from the same pool will carry over their head-to-head record into the second round.
The best two clubs of the semifinals will advance to the winner-take-all final, while the third and fourth-ranked teams will compete for the bronze medal.
The eliminated squads of the group stage will be relegated to the classification round, while the sixth-placed squad in Pool B will automatically be ranked 13th.
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