January 28, 2023

Court side switch, handshakes now back in PVL play

As Covid-19 cases continued to diminish from all over, women’s volleyball is back into the swing of things the way it was in pre-pandemic times with the switching of court sides and the post-game handshakes in effect again when the Premier Volleyball League opens shop on Feb. 4.

"We will again implement the protocols, meaning to say, when both teams are introduced, not like in the pandemic when they would just take a bow and wave, they now go straight to the opponents and shake hands with them," said PVL team director Tony Boy Liao during Saturday’s launch of the country’s premier women’s volley league new season at Discovery Suites in Ortigas.

The organizing Sports Vision has also rebranded the kickoff tournament, which used to be the Open Conference, to the All-Filipino Conference with nine teams disputing the championship.

"Sa game naman, meron na tayong switch sides, switch courts so every other set mag-change court," added Liao.

Players and coaches can also finally switch places with the opposing team and take part in the mandatory handshake line.

"We will do again yung ginagawa nung bago mag-pandemic. Yung ginagawa talaga sa volleyball," Liao said.

That should guarantee a livelier, highly spirited chase for top honors with Choco Mucho and Akari clashing in the opener at 3 p.m. and defending champion Creamline renewing its rivalry with Reinforced Conference winner Petro Gazz at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Players and coaches’ movements marked the run-up to the tournament, further leveling the playing field although the Cool Smashers and the Cignal HD Spikers kept the core of their respective squads, including Tots Carlos, Alyssa Valdez and Jema Galanza (Creamline) and Rachel Anne Daquis, Ces Molina and Roselyn Doria (Cignal).

F2 Logistics, which beefed up its roster by acquiring former Petro Gazz star Myla Pablo, and Akari, now boasting of Dindin Manabat and the likes of Eli Soyud and Bang Pineda, are the two other marked teams while Chery Tiggo, Petro Gazz, PLDT and Choco Mucho will now be handled by coaches Aaron Velez, Oliver Almadro, Rald Ricafort and Dante Alinsunurin, respectively.

Tuesday’s (Feb. 7) games will pit F2 against PLDT at 4 p.m. and Chery Tiggo versus Cignal at 6 p.m. at the Philsports Arena while the Filoil EcoOil Center in San Juan will stage the Feb. 9 matches featuring Creamline against Cignal at 4 p.m. and Petro Gazz against Choco Mucho at 6 p.m.