FOR ITS players to join the national women’s volleyball team for the 30th Southeast Asian Games later this year, the Philippine Superliga is shortening its Invitational Conference which will fire off on Sept. 24.
Instead of a regular schedule that takes at least two months to finish, the season-ending Invitational Cup will only run until Oct. 17 or just a little over three weeks.
PSL president Dr. Ian Laurel said they are looking at only 10 playing dates for the tournament the reason they are dividing the eight teams into two pools for the elims with the top four teams figuring in the semis (1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3) heading to the one-game finals.
“We need to finish the Invitational before November because by that time, focus will be on our country’s hosting of the SEA Games,” said Laurel. “Even if it’s a short tournament, I’m sure these teams want to end their year by winning this crown.”
The competing teams are the Cignal HD Spikers, Foton Tornadoes, PLDT Power Hitters, and Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors in Pool A, and defending champion and newly-crowned All-Filipino titlist F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, Petron Blaze Spikers, Generika-Ayala Lifesavers, and Marinerang Pilipina Lady Skippers in Group B.
“This will be the shortest but sweetest conference for Philippine Superliga,” said HD Spikers star Rachel Ann Daquis.
Aside from the Invitational Conference, the PSL will also host the second leg of the Southeast Asian Grand Prix on Oct. 4 to 6. Teams from Vietnam and Thailand among others will compete with the Philippine team in Sta. Rosa. Laguna.
To give the Philippine team a final tune-up for the SEA Games, PSL will also stage the Super Cup on Nov. 5, 7 and 9. The nationals will be pitted against a university team from Japan and two selections made up of PSL players.
Ceres-Negros FC not thinking of 3-peat yet
Despite being close to nailing it, Ceres-Negros FC still refuses to entertain the thought of nailing its third consecutive championship in the ongoing 2019 Philippines Football League.
Ceres-Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic said they still do not want to relax as four more wins out of their remaining seven matches are needed to secure their third straight League title.
The Negros Occidental-based football club moved closer to the title after its 2-0 victory over regional rival Kaya Futbol Club-Iloilo on Wednesday evening, improving their total to 46 points while the second running Ilonggos has 37 markers.
“It’s a big win for us. We beat our direct opponent for the title and it’s very very important but we need to continue as we have seven games more. We have to win four games to be sure that we are champions again,” Vidakovic said.
Jose Elmer Porteria, who played a vital role in Ceres-Negros’ win over Kaya-Iloilo, offered the same sentiment.
“We don’t feel like we won the league already because we have seven games left. Now our task is to win every single game that we have coming up,” the Philippine Azkals mainstay said.
The Busmen’s remaining games were against Stallion Laguna FC on Sept. 22, Mendiola 1991 FC on Sept. 28, Global Makati FC on Oct. 5, Stallion on Oct. 20, Green Archers United FC on Oct. 23 and Oct. 30 and Kaya-Iloilo on Oct. 26./PN