Collegiate coaches welcome return of preseason tourneys through Shakey's Super League

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2022 05:30 PM

Officials of Shakey's and ACES Philippines ABS-CBN News.
Officials of Shakey's and ACES Philippines during the official launch of the Shakey's Super League. Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA, Philippines -- The launch of the Shakey's Super League (SSL) is welcome news for coaches of college volleyball teams, who see the tournament as an integral part of their build-up for their main competitions. 

Shakey's Pizza Asia Ventures Inc. (SPAVI) and ACES Philippines on Tuesday formally unveiled the SSL, which opens on September 22 with its Collegiate Preseason Tournament. 

All 10 NCAA teams and six UAAP teams have confirmed their participation in the event, with two other UAAP schools -- Adamson University and the University of the Philippines -- expected to decide within the week if they will join. 

Already, collegiate coaches are looking forward to the competition, which runs until November 28.

"Maraming maraming salamat ulit na nagkakaroon ng ganitong tournament," Letran coach Michael Inoferio said during Tuesday's launch at Shakey's Aseana in Pasay City. "Malaking tulong 'to sa buong volleyball, kasi matagal na walang liga para sa mga estudyante." 

"Dito mage-gauge kung nasaan ba 'yung team, 'yung preparation ba ay tama, kulang, o sobra. 'Yung talent din ng mga bata ngayon na sumisibol," he added.

Because of restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, collegiate teams made do with tune-up matches before the UAAP and the NCAA opened their volleyball tournaments earlier this year. It was a departure from previous seasons, where squads had the benefit of a full preseason to build chemistry and figure out the right rotations. 

For the coaches, having months of preparation will do wonders for their teams, particularly those who are looking to integrate new players into the lineup.

"Malaking bagay na may preseason. Lalo na marami akong players, nag-pro. So, maraming bago," said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. "We really have to immerse [our players] talaga sa actual match, unlike before na tune-up games lang."

"Siyempre magandang exposure, kasi ngayon lang ulit nagkaroon ng pre-competition para sa mga collegiate teams. So siyempre 'yung mga bagong recruits, mga bago naming kuhang athletes, makikita na namin dito kung hanggang saang level 'yun kaya nilang habulin," said Clarence Esteban, who coaches Mapua University in the NCAA and is part of the coaching staff of the University of Santo Tomas as well.

Organizers are implementing an "all-to-play" rule, which will require coaches to play their entire line-ups by switching all six players in between sets. 

Ian Laurel, president of ACES Philippines, also assured that the academic requirements of the schools were taken into account when discussing the tournament format and schedule.

"The format would not be too intensive, so as to give the teams ample time to recover after each game, and focus on their academics," he said. "'Yun ang naging priority namin in getting a format or using a format for this conference."

There will also be a challenge system starting the quarterfinal phase of the tournament. 


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