MANILA, Philippines - New faces will provide new excitement to the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference that fires off on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
Eight teams will vie in the tournament open to all local female players, from college students to those seeing action in club tournaments.
Alyssa Valdez of Ateneo, Angeli Tabaquero of Cagayan Valley, Jaja Santiago of National U, Michelle Datuin of Philippine National Police, Angeli Araneta of UP, Aleona Santiago of PLDT, Judy Caballejo of Air Force and Rachel Ann Daquis of Army will continue to make heads turn.
But tournament director Tony Liao said yesterday it’s the presence of the new faces from at least three teams that will make the coming tournament worth watching.
“If you look at the lineups there are a lot of freshmen. These incoming players from UP, NU and Ateneo will provide a big surprise,” said Liao, citing 6-foot-1 Bea de Leon of Ateneo as one of the players to watch.
Liao also said a couple of exciting players from Davao and Cebu have found new teams in Manila. He also mentioned Therese Gaston, daughter of former PBA player Fritz Gaston, who will make her V-League debut for Ateneo.
The curtain-raiser at 2 p.m. pits University of the Philippines against National U while the 4 p.m. match features Ateneo against the Philippine National Police.
The other competing teams are defending champion Cagayan, Philippine Army, PLDT Home Telpad and Philippine Air Force.
Liao yesterday said the teams will play each other in one round with the top six advancing to the quarterfinals, another one-round affair.
In the semis, it will be 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 in a couple of best-of-three series, leading to the best-of-three finals. A separate best-of-three will determine the third placer.
Liao graced the PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate with Sports Vision chairman Moying Martelino and its president Ricky Palou together with Shakey’s brand manager Koi Castillo and PR for events and advocacy officer Jam Evaristo.
Far Eastern U ruled this year’s first conference for the collegiate level. The third conference is scheduled in September when all teams are allowed to field foreign imports.
While Shakey’s is being credited for the resurgence of volleyball in the country, Martelino said it actually began with the schools with long-term programs in the sport.
“It’s their love for the league, their schools and the country,” said Martelino.
Palou said Shakey’s and Sports Vision is now looking at putting up a men’s tournament, and if everything falls into place, it could begin next year.
“We are seriously looking into that,” said Palou.