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Superliga calls off Grand Prix to end weeks of uncertainty

Philippine Daily Inquirer March 24,2020 - 09:39 AM

The Philippine Superliga (PSL) formally canceled its Grand Prix conference on Monday, March 23, 2020, following the decision of President Duterte to place the whole of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

PSL chair Philip Ella Juico broke the news, saying that they had no choice but to call off the import-laced conference to put premium on the health and safety of the athletes, coaches, officials and other stakeholders.

Juico said they encourage both local and foreign players to go home to be with their loved ones in these trying times.

He said the league will continue to monitor and assess the situation in a bid to resume the Grand Prix to a later date, or once the window for international transfer formally opens around October.

“We are putting the welfare of our fans and players above anything else,” Juico said.

Prior to the outbreak of the deadly pulmonary disease, the league was having one of the finest editions of the Grand Prix.Imports like Americans Katherine Bell of Petron and Lindsay Stalzer of F2 Logistics, Montenegrin Tatjana Bokan of Chery Tiggo, French Maeva Orle of PLDT Home Fibr and Canadian Shainah Joseph of Sta. Lucia made massive impact in their first few games, as the tournament had the promise of having the best crop of reinforcements ever to play here.

Orle, in fact, even erupted for 50 points in a heart-stopping five-set loss to the Crossovers on March 10.

PSL president Ian Laurel said their decision to shelve the Grand Prix wasn’t easy.

“We needed to evaluate the situation and came up with this tough decision,” Laurel said, adding that they would call for a “special team owners’ meeting” as soon as the situation improves to plot the resumption of the centerpiece conference at the end of the season.

“But we will be back with a bang when all of this is over.”

So far, the Philippines has 380 cases of the coronavirus disease with a death toll of 25, prompting the national government to encourage everyone to go on quarantine while putting a halt to large gatherings like sports events, concerts and conventions.

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