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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Volleyball at grassroots gets boost

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Yearlong activities and two conferences will mark the beginning of the Shakey’s Super League, a program designed to promote the development of amateur volleyball at the grassroots level, across 18 regions in the country.

Shown here are (from left) Dr. Adrian Laurel, president and COO, Athletic Events and Sports Management Group of the Philippines (ACES); Philip Ella Juico, Chairman and CEO of ACES; Vicente Gregorio, president and CEO, Shakey’s Pizza Asia Ventures, Inc.; George Concepcion, General Manager, SPAVI and CHED Sports Development head Ana Yango. Danny Pata

A pre-season collegiate tournament will kick off the SSL’s first conference, with 18 teams from the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Athletic Association joining from September to November.

The second conference follows and will have a series of 10 cluster competitions that will last from February until June, 2023. The cluster meets will culminate in the SSL National Invitationals in July 2023.

“This pre-season is just one of two conferences. This one, we call, ‘sama-sama lahat’. Celebrating volleyball, celebrating the sport and celebrating Shakey’s social responsibility,” said SSL chairman and CEO Philip Ella Juico.

Juico and officials of the league talked about the two conferences during Tuesday’s launch at the Shakey’s ASEANA, along Diosdado Macapagal Ave. in Pasay City.

The invitationals will gather a total of 20 teams from a pool of 20 winning teams in the regional meets.

Dr. Ian Laurel, SSL CEO and president, said the league is aware that most of the participants are from collegiate teams and are student-athletes.

In view of this, the league is communicating with school authorities to allow their student-athletes to join, mindful that their schedules for training and games will not affect their academics.

In first week of February, Laoag City will host the Cluster 1 matches and will involve 12 teams from the Ilocos region, plus nine others from the Cordillera Autonomous Region.

The top 2 finishers will go to the national meet in July, along with the top 2 finishers in the Cluster 2 meet (Central Luzon and MIMAROPA) in the third week of February in Angeles City.

Cluster 3 competitions involving CALABARZON and the Bicol region will commence in the first week of March in Batangas City.

Reigning UAAP season 84 titleholder National University and runner-up La Salle have been invited to join, with NCAA Season 97 finalists College of St. Benilde and Arellano University in the intercollegiate spikefest.

The two conferences will kick off the return of Shakey’s to the collegiate volleyball scene, following a two-year absence.

Cluster 4 in third week of March 2023 will be in Iloilo City, with 22 squads from the Western Visayas vying for the top two slots to the national finals.

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