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PSL president: Staging beach volleyball tourney in bubble 'almost 100 percent'

Holding a bubble-style beach volleyball tournament this year is nearing fruition, Philippine Superliga (PSL) President Ian Laurel told Sports Page on Wednesday.

"Honestly I think it's a 50-50 for indoor volleyball, but it's almost 100% for beach volleyball," Laurel said.

The PSL president said they already got approval to start training individual workouts and were just about to start holding actual tournaments in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

However, the move to the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) last month nixed those plans. The government has since put Metro Manila, Bulacan, and Batangas under GCQ until the end of September.

"Sa latest meeting namin ng JAO, with GAB, PSC, and DOH, it was clear that only professional sports--whether contact or non-contact--basta professional will be allowed to resume competition and tournaments. All non-professional sports 'di papayagan until there is a vaccine or accepted standard of treatment," Laurel explained. "Up to now, we're still appealing that decision. We have moved to a more plausible tournament before the year ends and that's beach volleyball."

But now they're looking to hold a beach volleyball tournament, bubble style, in Subic where they held the event for the Southeast Asian Games.

"Subic has been very very helpful. They provided us with all their regulations and all their protocols. Mukhang we just need to appeal this. We told PSC of the plan, so far they have been very receptive. They just want us to formalize the appeal," he said.

Laurel said beach volleyball might be better, given the current restrictions, as the tournament is held in an open area compared to indoor volleyball. Beach volleyball teams are only composed of two players and matches last roughly half an hour. Laurel explained that this would only be a shorter format four days of competition. But teams could field not just one but two to three teams in the tournament.

"It's really easier to conduct than indoor but definitely we just want to have something going on for 2020, para naman may maalala tayo and serve as jump off for 2021," he said.

Some players are looking forward to the competition after the Grand Prix was canceled last March and the planned tournament in the past was scrapped.

"Lahat naman po talaga na-disappoint kasi lahat nag-hihintay na makabalik. Nasa isip namin nagte-training talaga kami. At least 'pag bumalik siya ready pa rin kami," said Sta. Lucia's Bang Pineda.

Pineda said she was tapped by the coach to play in the tournament, having been a beach volleyball player in her college days.

Fiola Ceballos of the Cignal HD Spikers is also looking forward to the traning for beach volleyball.

"Sobrang iba kasi sa beach volleyball nasa sand kayo so dapat mabigat tapos nakapaa ka lang. Mas mabigat pag tumalon ka so magte-train ka ng ilang months para makuha yung timing," she explained, "If from beach tapos babalik sa indoor mabilis ka na eh. Yung timing mo sa pagpalo iiba na sya. Sa receive mas better kasi bibilis yung receive mo, flexible kahit saan."

"I like beach volleyball. I don't mind getting dark and it's better for my injuries also, mas fo-focus yung skills ko and my communication with teammates," added Michelle Morente of the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.

While the pandemic is ongoing, the players said they also kept in touch with their fans and focusing on their businesses.

The PSL is a semi-professional league with teams allowed to have four student players in their lineup. But Laurel said the league still plans on turning pro in the future.

"Habang lumalaki yung liga, dumadami ang players. Maybe we can start having teams without any college players and start that process of applying to be pro because ultimately that's the goal," he said.