After gaining international recognition, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc. (PNVF) now sets its attention on further cementing the progress and ascension of volleyball in the country. With the new adjustments in the volleyball community, the governing body is looking to produce a stable, formidable team for every level of competition. Furthermore, its presence creates a bright future in steering the various leagues, coaches, and athletes to greener pastures.
Premier Volleyball League (PVL) President and PNVF Board of Directors member Ricky Palou shares how they plan on cultivating the promising quality and talent of volleyball moving forward.
After having meetings with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), different stakeholders and authorities immediately began to prepare a new volleyball group, which longtime sporting official Ramon Suzara was made president of. Palou emphasizes that the reason for the creation of the PNVF was to bring Philippine volleyball to “greater heights” both in the local and international stage. Having a clean slate, the PNVF will begin anew in improving the situation and image of volleyball in the Philippines.
The importance of gaining experience in any field is a crucial asset in crafting and honing one’s skill and intelligence. Picking up pieces of wisdom from a respected mentor contributes to the overall growth of a player or coach. Hence, one of the initial programs of the PNVF is to invite foreign coaches who will impart the knowledge they acquired from the international stage. “We are trying to get a Brazilian coach to get into the country. For our national team program, we will tell coaches to attend these clinics to learn from [the] programs of other countries,” Palou mentions. As years go by, their aim is for this strategy to become an established practice that produces well-rounded Filipino coaches.
From the elementary until the collegiate level, the PNVF is determined to create exposure and build up confidence for the aspiring volleyball players through a “grassroots program” designed to link tourneys across the country. The desired format will be inviting the most elite schools and universities from different regions pitting them against each other to determine the deserving champion. Palou says, “All the basic fundamentals will be taught to [them] so that they can move up the ladder and go to higher leagues. It should be worthwhile for their development.” However, their objectives do not end there as the mentioned program will also act as a launching pad for trainees to eventually participate in international competitions. Ranging from the Asian to the Western region, a pool of teams will be formed and trained to compete on the bigger stage.
“We’re happy with the development of volleyball in the Philippines not only in the women’s team, but for the men’s team as well,” the PVL President expresses. The PNVF is continuously constructing strategies to boost the progress and expand the reach of both the women’s and men’s leagues, respectively. Maintaining a steady, single system that puts the coaches and players on the same page is a significant feature in bringing the sport forward.
“Thailand has its own system of volleyball and has been successful in making this system. All [their] coaches followed this system all throughout the country, which is why when you look at their players they have no difficulty from moving from one category to another category,” Mr. Palou expounds.
The long-awaited return
It has roughly been a year since the pandemic started, canceling and postponing professional volleyball leagues, like the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) and PVL last 2020 due to COVID-19. After several months of waiting for the resumption of the PVL, Palou shares that there are plans of starting a bubble tournament this year.
Palou shares that the initial start of the tournament was on April 10, but because they had a hard time getting permission for the teams to start practicing, it was moved to May 8. However, due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in the country, its opening has now been postponed until late June to early July.
Prioritizing the safety and well-being of the players and coaching staff is the most important factor the PVL organizers must consider. “The concern here is that we’re afraid that the teams are not prepared physically and emotionally to participate in tournaments—they may injure themselves, and we don’t want this to happen,” Palou affirms.
Gradually, the teams have been practicing to get back into shape by the time the competition starts, making the most out of their limited training sessions. “We wanna make sure that they’re ready to compete in a tough tournament because all the players have been itching to play,” he states. Slowly making its way back, the PVL will hopefully resume its games with heightened health protocols.
The creation of the PNVF became a great opportunity to establish one scheme that will be able to unify volleyball in the Philippines. Palou expresses, “This can help us develop our own system—the Philippine’s system—on how we want to play volleyball.” With this in mind, hopes are high of the men’s and women’s leagues progressing together at the same pace to reach new heights for the well-renowned sport.
“We want this to be transferred all the way down, from the professional players to the grade school players,” he remarks.
The PNVF strives to improve and unite volleyball in the country as one strong and stable league, which can hone aspiring players for the national team in the future.