Wheeling and dealing begins in PSL

Saturday, 17 Dec 2016
Julius Manicad - @JCManicad
Key local & import players will need to be replaced as PSL teams look to bolster their rosters.

It’s going to be a very busy holiday season for the Philippine Superliga (PSL).

With a lot of contracts set to expire by midnight of Dec. 31, clubs are tipped to scamper for players whom they believe could help them for the tough grind in the 2017 season.

Overhaul at Petron

Petron, for one, is expected to be very active in the free agent market as it announced that it would make a massive revamp following a sorry loss to Foton in the best-of-three finals series of the PSL Grand Prix.

Petron is reportedly looking for a middle blocker and a high-scoring open spiker in a bid to fill the void created by the absence of imports Serena Warner and Stephanie Niemer. The Tri-Activ Spikers are also looking to upgrade their setter, hoping to find somebody who can provide the leadership and stability when the going gets tough.

Multiple sources claimed that a young open spiker is on her way to Petron after securing her verbal commitment. She is set to sign around the first week of January, beating the league-mandated deadline for the submission of 10-man protected lineup on January 15.

No-one safe at Generika

Also expected to make an overhaul is Generika. After finishing the Grand Prix on a sour note, coach Francis Vicente immediately announced that “nobody is safe” and everybody has to fight for their respective slots to barge into the team that will see action next year.

Vicente, in fact, called for a two-day tryout to infuse fresh blood, prompting incumbent members like Marivic Meneses, Rubie de Leon, Wensh Tiu, Shaya Adorador and Chloe Cortez to prove themselves all over again.

We want to come up with a competitive culture within the team and make them (players) feel that if they slack around, somebody would be there to take their jobs.

Right now, we’re evaluating our players. If somebody would shine from the tryouts, we would evaluate them again before deciding on who will get cut. As I’ve said in my previous statement: Nobody is safe.

New line-ups for RC Cola & Cignal?

RC Cola and Cignal, for their part, remain in limbo.

The Lady Troopers are expected to miss the rest of the 2017 season, but league sources said RC Cola might assemble an entirely new team.

Same goes for Cignal, which is set to make a revamp after the bold experiment of putting hard-hitting spikers Stephanie Mercado, Janine Marciano, Cherry Vivas and Venus Bernal with converted setter Shawna-Lei Santos designing the plays fizzled out.

Foton planning for losses

Surprisingly, Foton – the owner of the league’s most explosive roster – would also see a lot of changes despite being crowned as back-to-back Grand Prix champion.

The source said the Tornadoes might be forced to lose some vital pieces in their champion squad as some of their marquee players are tipped to be given hefty offers from other clubs.

Right now, Foton has the league’s strongest team on paper. So it’s only normal that some of its players would be given lucrative offers by other teams.

The source added that Myla Pablo’s five-year contract worth P4.8 million from Pocari Sweat in the V-League would definitely set the tone for contract negotiations.

That would be the yardstick. Women’s volleyball has grown so big that club owners are willing to open theirs wallet with a smile provided that they would help the club win a crown. This is really an emerging business.

And it would all happen during the Yuletide season – the season of giving and sharing.