PVL: After early exits, retooled Akari ready to take next step
MANILA, Philippines—The Akari Chargers hope that missing the semifinals in their first two conferences will serve as birth pains in their bid to rise to the top of the Premier Volleyball League.
Despite not making it to the top four in their participation in the professional league, Akari team manager Mozzy Ravena said the whole squad from coaches, and players to the management remain patient with their progress.
PVL clubs like Creamline and Petro Gazz also missed the semis in their first year in the league before emerging as the winningest clubs with six and two titles, respectively.
“Yung programa nila nakita natin how successful so kami yun din yung goal namin nakikita namin kung ano bang ginawa nila na dapat tularan din natin. So more or less sila din yung nagiging guide namin,” Ravena told Inquirer Sports.
“Isa isa muna final four, maramdaman naman namin paano mag-semis and eventtually makaakyat makasubok sa championship,” she added.
The Chargers official is happy with their progress so far as they are slowly picking up the pieces, signing veterans Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Bang Pineda, and Eli Soyud last January.
Akari also acquired one of the most talented college players in Faith Nisperos of Ateneo.
“Right now, it’s a good mix of young players and veterans with Faith now. Hopefully, we’re slowly getting the right pieces for our team. Although the recruitment process this season is more challenging but I think everybody is on the same page so it’s challenging and exciting at the same time,” said Ravena in Filipino.
Ravena is also excited for the three new teams, Foton, Gerflor, and Farm Fresh, who are turning the Invitational Conference into an 11-team competition starting on June 29.
“We used to be a new team in the league. Now we’re one of the [mainstays] so we must fight with pride,” she said. “It will be more competitive and more players will have more chance to play and show their talents. As a mom slash manager, I am so happy for them.”
With a month to go before the midseason tournament, Ravena said coach Jorge Souza de Brito is taking their preparation to the next level.
“Their hard practice is becoming harder because the competition is tougher now as you can see the recruitment the team compositions are now more balanced. I think it will be an exciting competition this conference,” Ravena said.
The Invitationals will separate the 11 teams into two groups with the top two squads advancing to the round-robin semifinals, where a pair of foreign clubs will join the competition.