It’s going to be another loaded year for women’s volleyball as the Philippine Superliga (PSL) has lined up international tournaments for its players to stay true to its commitment to help advance the state of the sport in the country.
These will be aside from the PSL’s usual local tournaments for 2017.
On top of the PSL’s four regular conferences, the country’s most prestigious semi-professional league is also gearing up to see action in five international tournaments, a fitting follow up to its successful hosting of the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship and the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship last year.
The league will tip things off with the PSL Invitational Conference next month where local teams collide for a chance to test their mettle against three foreign guest teams from Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
Last year, RC Cola-Army emerged victorious when it downed Est Cola, a rock-solid squad composed of the Thai juniors national team.
Jovelyn Gonzaga took home the Most Valuable Player award while the Lady Troopers became the first local club to beat a Thai squad since the National Team dominated the Singapore Southeast Asian Games in 1993.
The PSL All-Star team would also campaign in the Hong Kong Invitational Tournament from March 10 to 12, as well as in the highly competitive Thai-Denmark Super League in Bangkok from March 24-31.
The league would unfurl the PSL Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup in all weekends of May while the PSL Annual Rookie Draft is set on May 19.
The PSL All-Filipino Conference is set from May to July, but would take a breather from May 23 to 31 as reigning PSL Grand Prix champion Foton flies to the province of Ust-Kamenogorsk in Kazakhstan to do battle in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship.
The league takes its turn to roll out the carpet for Asia’s best spikers when it hosts the AVC Asian Women’s Seniors Championship from Aug. 9 to 17.
Also included in the league’s official calendar is the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur from Aug. 19 to 31 as PSL president Ramon Suzara already threw his full support behind the effort of Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) to restore the country’s glorious past in the regional stage.
“We are very supportive to the plans of program of LVPI. This is our way of giving back to the federation,” said Suzara, who served as secretary-general of the defunct Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association when the country last won the gold medal in the SEA Games 24 years ago.
Suzara, however, said that PSL players would have their turn to clash with Southeast Asia’s best players when they see action in the inaugural ASEAN Grand Prix, a four-nation meet that will be held in Thailand around September.
Aside from the Philippines and Thailand, also confirming their participation in this home-and-away tournament patterned after the Asean Basketball League are Vietnam and Indonesia.
“This project has been in the pipeline for the past three years. I’m really glad that it will finally push through this year,” said Suzara, who is also the chairman of the powerful marketing and development commission of the Asian Volleyball Confederation and a member of the International Volleyball Federation.
The league would close its year with another slam-bang conference – the PSL Grand Prix – where another batch of imports would be arriving to dazzle the crowd with their skills, power and beauty.
Foton emerged triumphant after crushing Petron in a thrilling best-of-three title duel recently.