THE International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) have stressed the importance of the country's hosting of the Asian Men's Club Championship presented by PLDT Home Fibr as a big boost to the Philippines' return to the international arena after a decade of absence.
Wei Jizhong, the honorary lifetime president of the FIVB and AVC, met with former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman and AMCC organizing committee head Philip Ella Juico and the organizers of the event during the Philippine Olympic Committee's hosting of the Asian Sports Centennial on January 17-18.
Wei expressed elation about the country's efforts to revive elite participation in the sport after a long lull and congratulated the newly-reorganized Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF), with whom he entrusted the hosting of the men's club championship from April 8-16 at the Cuneta Astrodome.
In gratitude, Juico has invited Wei to be the guest of honor in the event.
Aside from Juico, Wei also met with SportsCore president Ramon Suzara, who is also the chairman of AVC Development and Marketing Committee and member of the FIVB Development Commission, who accepted the challenge of hosting the event.
Also present was PVF Secretary General Otie Camangian.
The Asian Women's Club Championship, meanwhile, will be held in Nakhonpathom, Thailand on April 15-23.
"The championships will help boost our local volleyball programs," Juico added. "And Mr. Wei was supportive of the new Philippine volleyball program."
According to Juico, Asian volleyball has changed since the last 10 years. The Philippines used to be counted as a powerhouse team in Southeast Asia but has since been leapfrogged by Thailand and other countries when it failed to form national teams in the last decade despite the sport remaining active in the grassroots level.
The PVF, however, has instituted reforms and leadership changes, with lawyer Karl Chan taking over as president. It also received support from various leagues and groups, including the Philippine Superliga (PSL) and its organizers in Score.
The Asian Men's Championship is expected to feature the top regional teams teams, with a squad from Iran still the favorite to win a 10th crown for the country since it joined the tournament in 1999.
Aside from Iran and the Philippines, other countries which have confirmed participation are Chinese-Taipei, Kazakhstan, China, India, Thailand, Mongolia, Oman, Qatar, Hong Kong, Lebanon), Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and Bahrain.