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Philippine Superliga remains strong, says Juico

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By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

DESPITE some teams reconsidering their participation in the league and have taken a different direction, the Philippine Superliga (PSL) remains strong and ready to forge ahead and bring its brand of volleyball to the fore.

This assurance was made by PSL President Philip Ella Juico during his session at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.

The PSL in recent weeks saw its roster of competing teams slashed considerably with some clubs deciding to move to the now-professional Premier Volleyball League (PVL) and others filing for a leave of absence because of the ongoing situation with the coronavirus pandemic.

The non-pro league is currently left with three teams — F2 Logistics, Sta. Lucia, and Cherry Figo — but negotiations are ongoing for a guest team (Petro Gazz) and “two to three teams” interested to come on board.

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Mr. Juico said that despite the situation, the PSL is holding up and confident of being able to continue its push for the sport of volleyball in the country.

But the PSL official admitted that the recent developments have forced them to recalibrate their strategies to adapt to what is presented to them.

“We remain as strong as before, even stronger now. The team we have are very committed… [but we are] adjusting to the reality of the situation and signs of the times,” said Mr. Juico at the forum.

Part of the adjustments they are doing is negotiating with a new TV partner in GMA 7.

“We are starting anew. We have started negotiations with GMA 7 as our new TV partner,” he said.

PSL matches were aired over TV5 previously, and in the league’s negotiations with GMA 7, Mr. Juico said they are banking on the network’s push to elevate its sports content, which now includes the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The league is hoping to have its scheduled beach volleyball competition this month aired over GMA 7 as well as its indoor tournament later this year.

Mr. Juico said as of now, the PSL will remain a nonprofessional league and will not follow the route the PVL has taken.

“Our board and team owners, the ones that are still with us, want to still be nonprofessional. We realized that there is no reason to have two pro leagues. We are happy here and we have a niche here. That’s the thinking of our team owners,” he said.

The PSL was founded in 2013 and has been credited for doing a solid part in promoting the growth of volleyball in the country.

Last year, it saw its season cut short by the pandemic, with the Grand Prix tournament cancelled midway.

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