The Premier Volleyball League 2024 pre-season is becoming an event in itself

From disbandments to unexpected drafts, the weeks leading up to the Premier Volleyball League’s next conference are getting as exciting as the games themselves.

December 2023 saw one of the biggest announcements in Premier Volleyball League history: the disbandment of titled team F2 Logistics Cargo Movers. A flurry of speculations on player movements kept the volleyball community buzzing for a few weeks, until the official recruitment announcements quelled curiosities and drummed up the excitement further for the upcoming season. With F2’s stars distributed among several PVL teams, the gold medal race in the next PVL conference might shape up to be one of the tightest ones yet. 

Here’s F2’s movements in a nutshell: UAAP Season 85’s best opposite spiker, Jovelyn Fernandez, and multi-awarded libero Dawn Macandili-Catindig will lend her defensive skills to last conference’s bronze medalists, the Cignal HD Spikers; a resurging Ara Galang and swaggy Aby Maraño joins the Chery Tiggo Crossovers; the trio of veteran setter Kim Fajardo, reliable opposite spiker Kim Dy, and defensive tower Majoy Baron will fortify the PLDT High Speed Hitters; the imposing Ivy Lacsina will boost the young NXLED Chameleons team; finally, Ethan Arce, Mary Joy Dacoron, Mich Morente, and Myla Pablo will add firepower to the Petro Gazz Angels.

The Cignal HD Spikers first made waves post-F2 disbandment by signing award-winning libero, Dawn Macandili-Catindig, last December. Photo from Facebook/Cignal HD Spikers.

However, it wasn’t just F2 Logistics that made waves over the past few weeks; last season’s gold and silver medalists, sister teams Creamline Cool Smashers and the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, respectively, shocked the local scene with key additions and unexpected losses for each team. 

Just when breakout star Caitlin Viray had a stellar outing last conference, she announced her departure from the Flying Titans. Further breaking the hearts of the Choco Mucho fanbase was the reported transfer of captain Bea de Leon and “Iron Eagle” libero Denden Lazaro-Revilla to the Cool Smashers, citing a lack of playing time as one of the key factors for the shift. On the side of Creamline, conference MVP Ced Domingo, who is set to finish her Thailand playing stint soon, caught everyone off-guard with her transfer to the Akari Power Chargers, which also got a boost with the addition of collegiate MVP Gretchel Soltones.  

Coming from a team with a solid and loyal fanbase, it will be interesting to see how Ced Domingo will fare next season, especially after her stint in Thailand. Photo from Facebook/Akari Power Chargers.

Movements within the coaching staff are also keeping fans on their toes. Tactician Jorge Souza de Brito stepped down as the head coach of Akari, with Takayuki Minowa of their sister team NXLED now taking charge of both teams. Meanwhile, the young team of Farm Fresh Foxies surprised fans by tapping Kurashiki Ablaze’s Hideo Suzuki as a consultant. Just last year, the Suzuki-led team beat Creamline for first place in the PVL Invitational conference; as such, all eyes are on the Foxies as they learn from the champion coach. 

While team movements are not yet final for next season, what’s becoming more apparent for the league is the need to strengthen the rules on drafting, especially with last year’s recruitment spree of blue-chip players from collegiate ranks and movements between sister teams, which both seem to benefit only the top ranking or monied teams. In several interviews, PVL president Ricky Palou has reiterated the enforcement of a fairer draft system, team and salary limits, and more stringent trade guidelines to maintain a competitive and even league. 

The POST will continue to keep tabs on the movements between the PVL teams until the conference proper, which starts on February 17, 2024. 

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