By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
AFTER experiencing some delay, the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup finally pushes through this weekend at the sand courts of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in Zambales.
Originally set to take place in November, the tournament was deferred to a later date because of the impending threat by Typhoon Ulysses then.
The Challenge Cup, presented by Gatorade, will be a three-day event beginning on Friday and feature eight competing teams.
It will be the first volleyball event to take place since restrictions were put in place by authorities last year to guard against the coronavirus; something not lost to the organizers of the event, which is why they made sure they covered everything needed so as to ensure the safe conduct of the tournament.
“Everything is in order. There are certain kinks to be ironed out, but the event is pushing through and the teams are ready,” said PSL Chairman Philip Ella Juico at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday as he spoke of the event and their plans for the league moving forward.
Strict health protocols are put up for all players and personnel, numbering around 60 to 70, involved in the tournament to follow.
These include saliva tests to be done by the Red Cross Olongapo chapter.
The PSL said initial tests of players and team staff have all yielded negative results, allowing them to train in the lead-up to the tournament proper.
Set to see action are two teams representing Abanse Negrense and Sta. Lucia. Also competing are F2 Logistics, United Auctioneers, Inc. and Toby Sports. Kennedy Solar Energy-PetroGazz participates as a guest team.
A total of 24 matches will be played in the event, where teams will first see action in pool play. Those which will advance then play in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.
Games will be livestreamed via YouTube and Instagram.
In pushing through with the event, Mr. Juico expressed hope that it paves the way for local volleyball to get back in the swing of things despite the coronavirus still an ongoing concern.
“This is a historic event for volleyball and non-professional sports since this is the first event that has been given permission by authorities to stage a sports competition.”
After beach volleyball, the PSL will begin work on resuming indoor tournaments as well.