THE Philippine Super Liga raised the stake in its bid to boost the revival of volleyball in the country as it launches another first - a men's division club tournament that will run alongside its successful women's meet when its second season fires off on November 10 at The San Juan Arena.
Ramon 'Tats' Suzara, PSL president and International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) development commission officer, said the move aims to help the male players keep in step with the great strides being made by women's volleyball in the country.
The PSL, according to Suzara, also aims to support the ongoing reorganization of the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) by focusing on high-end tournaments which will serve as a pool of talents for the future national teams.
"Men's volleyball has been left out in the cold for so long," Suzara said. "While women's volleyball has enjoyed tremendous success and following over the past years, our male players do not have a tournament to call their own. It is high time the PSL start following the FIVB programs and truly develop the sport in the country."
The pioneering PSL men's tournament filled for need for club level competition erstwhile only seen in club tournaments in Thailand and in other Asian volleyball powerhouse countries.
The Philippines, formerly a volleyball power at least in the Southeast Asian region, went on a dip in the last two decades.
"The PSL is here to help change our status. We will help all volleyball stakeholders in pushing the Philippines back to where it used to enjoy as a SEA Games power, and then as an Asian contender soon," Suzara said.
"We hope the men's tournament the PSL is putting up will encourage more young male volleyball players to continue playing the sport even after their collegiate duties. We have proven a club level tournament will be accepted in our country as basketball was embraced by fans. Slowly and surely, it can happen in volleyball," Suzara added.
The initial PSL tournament, with six woman squads competing and ably handled by Commissioner Ian Laurel, was won by TMS-Philippine Army.