ACTOR and sportsman Richard Gomez once again answered the call to help resuscitate men's volleyball by lending his name and image to one of the teams playing in the men's division of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix 2013.
Gomez, a Southeast Asian Games medallist as a rower and fencer, will be playing for PLDT, one of the four teams competing in the inaugural men's club tournament which will be held alongside the six-team women's competition starting on Sunday.
Maybank, Systema and Gilligan's Restaurant are the other squads competing in the men's division, which will have its own tournament after several years of inactivity.
Aside from serving as a member of the national squads of fencing and rowing, Gomez is also known as a golfer and motocross enthusiast, among the many other sports he has played.
He also played volleyball in high school and college, and PSL president Ramon 'Tats' Suzara, once a national youth ace himself, said Gomez's presence will help boost interest in the other side of the sport long overshadowed by its female counterparts.
Unknown to many, Gomez was also instrumental in the major comeback fight of Manny Pacquiao when he secured the funding and government support while he was the Youth and Sports Adviser to President Joseph Estrada.
He helped the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) host Pacquiao's comeback triumph over Reynante Jamili on December 12, 1999. That fight signalled Pacquiao's rise to become the only eight-division world champion after his knockout loss to Medgoen Singsurat of Thailand on September 17, 1999.
"Richard knows the extent of our undertaking in trying to revive men's volleyball. He selflessly agreed to help us and we are grateful," Suzara said.
The event, which will be held mostly at The Arena in San Juan, has also partnered with San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez's effort to help the victims of the recent major earthquake which devastated the province of Bohol.
Ticket sales for the opening games will be donated to the earthquake victims through the City of San Juan's relief programs.
Tickets are now on sale at the SportsCore office, Unit 220, City Land Vito Cruz Tower 1, 720 Vito Cruz St., Manila. Interested parties may also call 353-3935.
For the opening games at 1 pm on Sunday, tickets will be sold in the booths of the San Juan Arena.
The event is backed by Asics, Mikasa, LGR and Jinling Sports. Solar Sports Entertainment remains as the PSL's broadcast partner and is dubbed as 'The Home of the PSL.'