LAOAG, Ilocos Norte — Title-favorite Creamline will have to make do without its Thai head coach Tai Bundit in its first four games, including its opening day duel with dangerous Sta. Lucia Realty in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference on Saturday at the PCV Socio-Civic & Cultural Center in nearby Bacarra.
Bundit is scheduled to arrive Thursday night and would need to undergo a 10-day quarantine in Manila and is expected to travel here either July 26 or 27.
He will also have to pass a battery of COVID-19 tests — an RT-PCR on and after his quarantine and antigen at Fort Ilocandia where all 10 teams are quartered — to be allowed entry to the Laoag bubble.
By that time, the multi-titled former Ateneo bench tactician could now coach in the Cool Smashers’ game against the Bali Pure Water Defenders.
The games Bundit will miss are against old rival Petro Gazz on Tuesday, Black Mamba Army next week Chery Tiggo on July 25.
Meanwhile, Southeast Asian Games bronze-medalist Tina Salak will join Chery Tiggo as it playing team captain.
Salak, who will turn 45 on August 10, is expected to provide leadership, experience and inspiration having won three championships in the PVL’s precursor — the Shakey’s V-League.
“It’s really an honor and privilege to coach the legendary Tina Salak. I didn’t expect it at all. The decision to include her in the roster was sudden but a good one,” said Chery Tiggo mentor Aaron Velez.
Meanwhile, PVL president Ricky Palou said they would implement a no “change-court” policy and would bar opposing players to shake hands and give high fives as part of the league’s strict protocols.
“No change court,” said Palou. “Okay lang sa kanila kasi it’s for their own good. Kasi the teams they have their own equipment, water so pag lumipat kung may infected don, madadamay lahat.
“They understand naman, in fact, they welcome it nga at this point of time for safety precautionary measures,” he added.
Palou said the FIVB, volleyball’s world governing body, is applying the same protocols.