MANILA, Philippines -- The Shakey's Super League (SSL) will ride the momentum generated by the highly successful Collegiate Pre-Season Championship when it stages the National Invitationals in July next year.
"Our next tournament is truly a national championship," said Philip Ella Juico, chairman of the Athletic Events and Sports Management Inc. (ACES), which oversees the conduct of the SSL.
Juico announced during Tuesday's Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex that 12 teams from all over the country will vie in the next SSL offering.
"These are teams from Luzon, including the UAAP and NCAA, and those the Visayas and Mindanao. It’s a short tournament, a one-week tournament," added the former chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission.
Also gracing the forum were ACES president Dr. Ian Laurel and National University key players Alyssa Solomon and Michaela Belen and coach Karl Dimaculangan barely two days after they swept the Collegiate Pre-Season Championship.
Laurel stressed that the SSL will continue its vision of developing new talents and giving those from other parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao the chance to showcase their talent.
"We want to give the teams from the Visayas and Mindanao the chance to face the players whom they idolize and provide them a high level of competition," Laurel said in the forum.
Laurel said for the National Invitationals, the top three teams from both the UAAP and NCAA will face two teams each from Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.
"We want to showcase the best," said Laurel.
The Lady Bulldogs are the dominant team in women's volleyball at the moment, having scored a 16-game sweep of UAAP Season 84 before completing an immaculate 8-0 run in the preseason championship.
Both of their titles came at the expense of De La Salle University.
This early, they are looking forward to the next UAAP wars in February and the SSL National Invitational Championship in July.
"Very excited ako sa plan," said Solomon, who was crowned MVP in the SSL pre-season tournament that drew 18 teams.
"Magandang chance ito kasi may matutunan sila (teams from the Visayas and Mindanao) sa amin at may matututunan din kami sa kanila. Mabibigyan din sila ng chance ipakita 'yung talent nila," said Belen, winner of the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the last UAAP season.
The NU coach also welcomed the new challenge while brushing off suggestions that the Lady Bulldogs are on the way to building a dynasty in collegiate volleyball.
"Every game is a challenge. Basta ginagawa lang namin 'yung best namin. 'Yung dynasty, wala sa isip namin 'yan. Nasa preparations lang ang focus namin. Kung manalo or kung matalo, kami pa rin ang team," said Dimaculangan.