The biggest Premier Volleyball League (PVL) conference will kick off on June 27 at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.
Thirteen teams, including three new member squads and two foreign guests, will compete for the midseason crown that was won by Creamline last year.
The new additions to the field, the Foton Tornadoes, the Farm Fresh Foxies, and the Gerflor Defenders, will increase the number of teams to 11.
“With volleyball in the country growing by leaps and bounds over the past decade, we feel that it’s about time to increase the number of member teams in the PVL,” said league president Richard ‘Ricky’ Palou.
“This will not only bring more excitement for our fans but also provide players with more opportunities to have a career in volleyball. The new teams are also committed to staying with us in the long term,” he added.
The Foton Tornadoes will make their return to competitive volleyball after three years.
“We are happy that the league and the member teams allowed us to join starting with the Invitational Conference,” said team manager Aaron Velez.
“With two teams, this will give our company added exposure and our players a chance to further hone their skills,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Farm Fresh Foxies will feature the core of the College of Saint Benilde team and will have Jerry Yee as the head coach for their inaugural season.
“The PVL is a big platform to introduce our product, which is the first real fresh milk in the market,” said Foxies team manager Janica Lao.
“Though we are a new team, chemistry won’t be a problem for us since the Lady Blazers never really stopped training even after the NCAA season,” she added.
Finally, the Gerflor Defenders will feature a mix of veterans and young players and will be coached by Edgar Barroga.
“We are thrilled to finally be a part of the PVL. We have organized and participated in several leagues to qualify for the opportunity to compete in the PVL, which we believe is the most prestigious league in the country. Being a part of the PVL is already an honor and accomplishment for our volleyball club,” said Defenders team manager Jordan Tolentino.
All 11 local teams will be split into two groups. Group A will be composed of defending champion Creamline, Chery Tiggo, PLDT, Akari, and Gerflor.
Group B will consist of six teams: Petro Gazz, F2 Logistics, Choco Mucho, Cignal, Farm Fresh, and Foton.
The top two teams in each pool will advance to the round-robin semifinals, along with the two foreign teams. Teams from the same pool will carry over their head-to-head record into the second round.
The top two teams will advance to the winner-take-all final, while the third and fourth-ranked teams will compete for the bronze medal.
Those teams that do not advance to the next round will move to the classification phase. However, the sixth-placed squad in Pool B will automatically be ranked 13th.