Volleyball has dug deep into the grassroots with 13 of the 23 local government unit (LGU)-based teams seeing action in the Champions League that kicks off today (Saturday November 5) coming in from the provinces.
The men’s division has 10 provincial teams—Basilan-Tennun Spikers and AIP-University of Baguio-Benguet Province Cardinals in Pool A; Aklan Ati-Atihans, Imus City- AJAA Spikers, One Bulacan Republicans and Pikit-North Cotabato AMC G Spikers in Pool B; and Baguio City Highlanders, Bacolod City Tarags and Sta. Rosa City Lions in Pool C.
In the women’s side, University of Batangas-Batangas City Lady Brahmans and Imus City-AJAA Lady Spikers are in Pool A while last year’s runner-up CPS-Antipolo City, Davao City Lady Agilas and Tomodachi Bulacan Bulakenyas are in Pool B.
“This is a healthy sign that volleyball has its roots embedded in the provinces and we envision the same healthy maturity for the sport sooner than soon,” said Ramon “Tats” Suzara, president of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) that organizes the Champions League.
“With an LGU-based Champions League, the country will have a wider base of talents, both for men and women, and not only in volleyball, but in beach volleyball as well,” Suzara said. “We thank the LGUs for their support and we could have added more teams, but we need to follow international regulations in the conduct of the tournament.”
Also competing are PGJC Navy Sea Lions, Cignal HD Spikers and VNS-Quezon City Griffins in Pool A; National University (NU)-Pasay City Bulldogs in Pool B; and University of the East (UE)-Cherrylume Red Warriors and Army-Taguig City Troopers in Pool C of the men’s contest.
The Metro Manila-based teams in the women’s category are Pool A’s ICC-Caloocan City Lady Bluehawks and KMS-Quezon City Lady Vikings and Pool B’s UE Manila-Cherrylume Lady Red Warriors.
The pool matches kick off Saturday at the PhilSports Arena—which was spruced up to world standards by the Philippine Sports Commission—with Basilan taking on the AIP-Benguet at 8 a.m., followed by the Cignal HD-VNS Quezon City duel at 10 a.m. and the Imus AJAA matchup with North Cotabato AMC at 12 noon.
The other men’s matches pit NU against One Bulacan at 2 p.m., Baguio City against Army Taguig City at 4 p.m., Bacolod City against Sta. Rosa City at 6 p.m. and AIP-University of Baguio-Benguet Province against PGJC Navy at 8 p.m.
Women’s action starts on Sunday with ICC Caloocan facing KMS-Quezon City at 8 a.m., UB Batangas City colliding with AJAA Imus at 10 a.m., Davao City taking on Tomodachi Bulacan at 12 noon and CPS Antipolo tackling UE -Manila at 2 p.m.
The Champions League ends November 13.