Major changes are brewing in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) in 2018.
From October to December, the league will be holding its import-flavored Grand Prix from Feb. 17 to May 17 to comply with the new international transfer period set by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC).
After the Grand Prix, the league will stage the Challenge Cup beach volleyball tournament from May 26 to June 16 followed by the participation of the PSL All-Star team in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship from July 11 to 18 in Oskemen, Kazakhstan.
The All-Filipino Conference is set from July 28 to Nov. 15, but it will take a break from Sept. 17 to 23 to give way for 6th AVC Asian Cup for Women in Nakhon Ratchasima, Kazakhstan.
The PSL Invitational Conference will be held from November to December followed by another beach volleyball tournament to cap the year.
PSL president Ramon Suzara said the major tweaks were done in compliance with the new FIVB and AVC calendar ratified in a board meeting last month.
“The PSL is a staunch supporter of the plans and programs of the FIVB and the AVC.”
“We decided to tweak our calendar in compliance with the new FIVB and AVC calendar. Since it now suits the new international transfer period, it would be easier for us to invite foreign players for the Grand Prix while making local players available for international competitions.”
The calendar, however, is still subjected to very minor revisions depending on the actual implementation.
Over the past four years, the PSL had drastically increased the level of women’s volleyball in the country.
Last year, it hosted two major international tournaments, the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship and the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship, which treated local players, coaches and fans to a ringside seat of world-class volleyball competition.
This year, the league threw its full support to the national team in its participation in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
Composed of 13 PSL players, the national team also had a 17-day training in three Japanese cities courtesy of the good relationship between Suzara and his Japanese counterparts.
Suzara, a member of the FIVB and chairman of the powerful marketing and development committee of the AVC, said this program would be further intensified come 2018.
He also added that the league will also come up with a pool of two to three teams where the members of the PSL All-Star team will be drawn.
“The PSL is all about serious competition.”
“We want our players to get exposed to topnotch international tournaments to increase their level of competition and make it at par with our Southeast Asian neighbors.”
But more than the international exposure, the league would still continue its “Spike on Tour” while reaching out to the grassroots level with a series of promotional tours and a regional tournament that is still in the pipeline.
“We’re looking forward to another banner year in 2018.”