On paper, Chery Tiggo is one of the teams, if not the team, to watch in the inaugural professional season of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).
With Japan League stalwart Jaja Santiago leading the lineup, the crosses have enough firepower to keep the court in the country’s first and only professional league.
National team regulars Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Mylene Paat, Maika Ortiz, Jasmine Nabor and comeback Tina Salak provide the experience and muscle.
Rounding out the team are college stars Shaya Adorer, Arianne Layug, Marian Buitre, Elaine Kasilag, Rachel Austero, Mary Joy Dacoron, Buding Duremdes, Justine Dorog and Gyzelle Sy.
But head coach Aaron Velez knows he shouldn’t anchor his campaign opportunities on a pure roster.
He knows that the big names in the line-up must translate into a cohesive unit on the hard courts of the Centro Cultural Socio-Cívico PCV in Baccara, Ilocos Norte province.
“I think everyone would like to grab that elusive crown,” Velez said. “We are all in a league, so expect it to be more exciting and competitive. All teams will give it their all after a year and a half off … we need to redouble our efforts to have a chance to win the crown. “
Well, the franchise is no stranger to earning crowns. Like Foton, he has won two conference titles and has been a regular title contender in the Philippine Super League (PSL) on hiatus.
With PSL choosing to remain “semi-professional” and halting its operations, various teams like Chery Tiggo jumped into the PVL last March.
Team owner and president Rommel Sytin said that joining the PVL on their first foray into professional gaming is a great adventure for them.
“Well, I think the fans and the team owners and the players in particular are excited about this tournament,” said Sytin, who has been running the franchise as a close family.
“I’m sure this will be the most competitive tournament yet and fans will follow only one league, so expect a great following, whether it’s online or on TV. Congratulations to PVL & CIGNAL, ”added Sytin.
It may be something of a festive revival for the sport that has been on hold for a long time, but Chery Tiggo is taking it seriously. After all, a historic first professional title, played amid the pandemic, no less, is at stake.
“Like I said, everyone is eager to come back and step on the pitch. It’s anyone’s ball game, “added Velez. “After a long waiting period, we cannot underestimate any opponent. We’ll just be ready against who we’re up against. “
Aside from the actual matches, Chery Tiggo and the rest of the 10-team field had to face off-field battles.
“Bubble training is quite complicated and challenging at the same time,” Velez said. “We have to be aware of the established protocols, the environment in which we find ourselves, the resources we have to do and the management of our mental health.”
They are expected to follow those strict health protocols for the next seven weeks under the biosecurity setup.
“At the end of the day, we just need to be conscientious in everything we do, be sensitive to our colleagues, and be courteous when communicating. That way we were able to adjust, use and be productive in our bubble configuration training, ”added Velez.
And, hopefully, that mindset will help you be productive during the conference, too.
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