The Shakey’s V-League is just getting bigger through the years.
Now on its 12th season, the country’s premier volleyball tournament for women will have a record of 12 teams seeing action when it kicks off its Collegiate Conference this Saturday at the San Juan Arena.
The field has been divided into two groups with reigning UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila heading one bracket and NCAA counterpart Arellano University leading the other one.
The same number of teams is seeing action in the second season of the Spikers’ Turf that opens on July 13. Both leagues are presented by PLDT Home Ultera.
“It is our pleasant surprise that a lot of teams are participating with 12 school teams for both men and women,” said Moying Martelino, chairman of the organizing Sports Vision in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate Tuesday.
Bracketed with Ateneo in Group B are College of St. Benilde, La Salle-Dasmarinas, San Sebastian College, Technological Institute of the Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas.
With Arellano in Group A are Far Eastern University, National University, University of Batangas, University of the Philippines, and Polytechnic University of the Philippines, which took the slot left by powerhouse De La Salle.
Sports Vision president Ricky Palou, who was also present in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Shakey’s, Accel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, along with commissioner Tony Liao and PLDT Home Ultera product manager Pelaine Mallari, stressed that invitations had been sent out to prospective school participants, including La Salle.
Palou said the invitation was coursed by the league to La Salle team manager Raffy Villavicencio, who initially agreed to field in the Lady Spikers, only to back out of the tournament later on owing to the many commitments of the many-time UAAP champions.
The La Salle men’s team though, is set to see action in the Spikers’ Turf.
“For the record, every year, we have invited De La Salle to participate,” said Palou. “Unfortunately, after their (Lady Spikers) participation four years ago, they decided not to participate. But every year, we invited school teams and these include La Salle.”
Palou made the clarification after Lady Spikers coach Ramil De Jesus claimed in earlier reports there was no invitation which reached the La Salle office coming from V-League organizers about the school’s possible participation.
But a La Salle-Ateneo showdown is guaranteed in the Spikers’ Turf as the rival schools are both bracketed in Group B together with Arellano, St. Benilde, La Salle-Dasmarinas, and University of the Philippines.
In Group A are Emilio Aguinaldo College, Far Eastern University, Mapua, National College of Business and Arts, National University, and University of the East.
Tournament format will have each group playing a single round elimination, with the top four teams in each bracket making to the quarterfinals.
The eight quarterfinalists will be merged into one group and will play a single round, with the top four teams advancing in the crossover semifinals.
The Final Four features no. 1 vs. no.4 and no. 3 and no. 2 teams in a best-of-three series.
Winners of the crossover semis dispute the championship in a best-of-three affair.
Games in the V-League will continue to be shown on GMA News TV, while the Spikers’ Turf will be aired on PTV 4.