Philippine volleyball

Delayed for good reason: PVL finally implements rookie draft

JR Isaga

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Delayed for good reason: PVL finally implements rookie draft

THE FUTURE. La Salle's Angel Canino and NU's Bella Belen share a hug at the conclusion of the UAAP Season 85 women's volleyball finals

UAAP Season 85 Media Team

After much fan clamor, the PVL finally reaches the final stage of preparations for its first-ever rookie draft, with commissioner Sherwin Malonzo explaining why it has taken so long to do so

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ only professional volleyball league continues to further legitimize its operations amid fast-surging interest and vastly improving competition.

For the first time since turning pro in 2020, the PVL, barring any setbacks, is implementing its first-ever rookie draft this June, as officially announced in the 2024 All-Filipino Conference press launch on Wednesday, February 14.

This marks the last time teams may sign players through direct hiring, and all future amateur aspirants who have not previously played in the PVL would have to submit their names through the proper drafting channels.

Asked why the implementation of the highly anticipated draft took four years after the PVL was granted professional status, league commissioner Sherwin Malonzo explained that the technicalities go far beyond simple player-picking.

“Talks of a draft began in 2021, but decided to delay so we could study it well. It’s easy to think about, but hard to implement,” the amiable executive said in Filipino. “The execution is a different story, and that’s why it took years. We wanted to make sure everything is done right.”

“It’s not just about drafting. We’re also talking about teams’ commitment, the Uniform Players Contract, the salary cap, and then eventually, free agency. Those are the factors involved and the draft itself is just a part of it. That’s what I mean when I say, yes, drafting is easy, but that’s not all there is to it.”

Sure enough, the teams’ commitment has been a consistent issue in the PVL’s last few years, with teams like BaliPure, BanKo Perlas, Sta. Lucia, Army, and most recently, Gerflor and F2 Logistics, all taking extended leaves of absences or just straight-up closing shop.

In the wake of F2’s shocking disbandment, multiple superstar-caliber players quickly jumped ship, mostly to already-stacked teams, thus reopening debates in fan circles on the need for a salary cap to even out the competition.

“Hopefully, this June, it’s all systems go. We just need the commitment of the teams, then we send out the Uniform Players Contract,” Malonzo continued.

“We also need the input of the teams for the salary cap because as [PVL president] Mr. [Ricky] Palou said, it might be too low or too high. We need everyone’s input so it’s all evened out. It’s favorable for the teams and the league that the salary cap be implemented soon.”

While the fans’ clamor for further parity in the PVL is understandable, multiple safeguards must indeed be first put in place to assure smooth sailing from the moment the draft is implemented.

Based on what Malonzo has revealed, there is, however, continuous progress, which is always a good sign for the league’s immediate future. –

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