AUSTRALIA and New Zealand showcase their skills and talent before local fans starting Monday as action in Season 11 of the Shakey’s Girls’ Volleyball League Tournament of Champions fires off with five matches at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The Aussies, carrying the Victoria colors, test Western Visayas champions University of San Jose-Recoletos at 5 p.m. after the 4 p.m. clash between the Kiwis and the Southern Luzon titlists De La Salle Lipa.
NCR back-to-back regional champion Hope Christian School kicks off hostilities against Baguio City National High School, winner of the Northern Luzon regionals, at 1 p.m. with Mindanao leg titlist Ateneo de Davao and Eastern Visayas leg champion Leyte National High School tangle at 2 p.m.
The Hope CS tosser caps a busy day by taking on Central Luzon leg winner Angeles University Foundation at 6 p.m.
An elaborate rites precede the Hope CS-Baguio NHS tussle with Shakey’s officials, headed by president and COO Vic Gregorio and PR and events officer Jam Evaristo, and organizing Metro Sports president Freddie Infante expected to grace the affair.
The 10 teams have been divided into two groups with the top two squads from each side after the single round elims advancing to the Final Four of the championship sponsored by Shakey’s and backed by Mikasa, Asics, Tune Hotel, Burlington, BioFresh, Food Health and Science Magazine and Metro Sports.
Owing to their tall rosters and experience, the Aussies and the Kiwis are fancied to nail the first two semis berths with the other two a tossup among the eight local squads with the Hope Christian School spikers also expected to contend.
But with the rest all primed up for the event, a wide-open race is seen, guaranteeing action-packed games in all five days of the event which also features the country’s rising volley players.
Victoria heads Pool A that includes Hope CS, USJ-Recoletos, Angeles University Foundation and Baguio NHS while New Zealand banners Pool A along with Central Philippine U, Ateneo de Davao, Leyte NHS and La Salle-Lipa.
To give the sport a mainstream appeal, Solar TV will telecast the games on a delayed basis starting at 4 p.m. daily.
After the elims on Thursday, the top four teams will face off in the crossover semis Friday morning with the finals slated in the afternoon