THE now-professional Premier Volleyball League (PVL) is currently working on the form its coming season will be having, taking into consideration what it has at its disposal and the prevailing conditions in the country.

Speaking at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, PVL President Ricky Palou shared that their group has gotten the ball rolling in terms of preparation for the league’s first season as a professional association, targeted to begin with the Open Conference on May 8.

The league will showcase a shored-up roster of 12 competing teams, namely, BaliPure Purest Water Defenders, Banko Perlas Spikers, Chery Tiggo Crossover, Choco Mucho Flying Titans, Cignal HD Spikers, Creamline Cool Smashers, F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, Petro Gazz Angels, Philippine Army Lady Troopers, PLDT Home Fibr Hitters, Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors, and UAC Power Hitters.

The Open Conference will be held in a “bubble” setting at the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, where all the participants are expected to be holed up for the duration of the tournament.

Mr. Palou said teams will be allowed 20 personnel each, including the players and coaches.

One of the key matters the PVL is currently discussing is the schedule of the games, made trickier since it involves a bigger number of teams.

“We are in the process of preparing the schedule. We’re looking at several possible setups. One is having a single round-robin and another is we’re looking at the possibility of dividing the teams into two brackets. If we go single round, it will take two months to finish and keeping everybody in the bubble presents challenges. We hope to finalize things this week,” said Mr. Palou.

The PVL official went on to say that they will try to squeeze in as many games as possible every week and have discussed the matter with their new television partners Cignal and TV5 as far as coverage is concerned.

The league is also actively communicating with the management of INSPIRE, Mr. Palou said, to ensure that everything will be up and running come tournament proper.

“We are working with the management of INSPIRE and they have assured us that they can accommodate all the teams. We are expecting that all in all, including league and game officials, between 310 to 325 people will enter the bubble,” he said.

While not giving any definite figures, Mr. Palou shared that they will spend a “substantial” amount to stage their bubble tournament.

Ten million pesos are expected to be used for the medical team and needed swab testing, while P5 million is earmarked for tournament operations like salaries of referees and table officials.

Still being awaited are the figures from INSPIRE as the bubble host.

Mr. Palou said that given how fluid the situation is with the pandemic, they are constantly in communication with all stakeholders, putting a lot of emphasis on health and safety just as he said that they are going to make the necessary adjustments as needed. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo