THE highly-popular Shakey’s V-League turns a new leaf in its storied history by planning to stage a first-ever All-Star weekend hopefully before the year ends.
Patterned after the NBA All-Star festivities, the organizing Sports Vision Management Group Inc. is looking to make the event the main fare of the tournament’s third conference as part of the innovations the V-League are initiating as it celebrates its 10th year.
Moying Martelino and Ricky Palou, chairman and president, respectively of Sports Vision, along with Shakey’s president and chief operating officer Vic Gregorio, proudly made the announcement on Tuesday during the official launching of the First Conference-Season 10 of the country’s premier women’s volleyball meet at the weekly PSA Forum.
Martelino disclosed the idea was first broached out during the successful V-League outreach volleyball camp held at the Blue Eagle gym prior to the Holy Week break.
“Based on our experience during the volleyball camp, we believed that it’s about time we hold an All-Star weekend. And everybody was in agreement that we should have a volleyball weekend that is patterned after the NBA All-Star where fans and volleyball stars get together,” said Martelino during the session presented by Shakey’s and the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation.
The outreach program, a one-day, two-session event conducted by Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb and star players Suzanne Roces, Fille Cainglet, Jem Ferrer, Pau Soriano, among others, was supposed to be limited to just 60 campers, but more than 300 girls came in whom organizers failed to accommodate.
“So the consensus was to hold an event like the (NBA) All-Star. We’re going to do something like that, but in the field of volleyball.”
Just like when it partnered with V-League from the very start, Gregorio said Shakey’s is again going all-out in supporting the new endeavor.
“As always, if there is a way for Shakey’s to help, then we will do,” said Gregorio, who was joined in the same forum by Shakey’s brand manager Koi Castillo and PR and events officer Jam Evaristo. “Ten years, matagal-tagal na rin tayo. We went into this hoping to make an impact and further develop volleyball in the Philippines. We’re proud and happy we’ve seen great progress in volleyball, whether it’s the effort of V-League or not, Shakey’s is just happy to be there.”
Castillo refers to volleyball as `the next big thing’ in local sports.
“Volleyball is like a sleeping giant. When we started, no one is talking about the sport except among college schools. But look where it is now? We’re gaining momentum in coming up with eventful games, which V-League will continuously do so.”
Under the current set-up, the entire V-League season is consists of two conferences – the first featuring collegiate schools, and the second starring commercial ballclubs and school teams tied up with private firms.
The First Conference of Season 10 formally kicks off this Sunday at The Arena in San Juan and featured a doubleheader pitting two-time reigning champion Ateneo against multi-titled University of Santo Tomas in the 2 p.m. curtain raiser, and newcomer Arellano against National University in the main game at 4 p.m.
Former International Olympic Committee representative to the country Frank Elizalde is the special guest of honor, while providing the entertainment number in the 1 p.m. opening ceremony is the NU cheer dance team. A children’s choir will be rendering the Lord’s Prayer and National Anthem.
Palou admitted former champions San Sebastian led by guest players Jeng Bualee and Su Roces, and Santo Tomas, behind Rhea Dimaculangan and Aiza Maizo as guest players, are the teams to beat this conference.
“You’re looking at SSC and UST as teams that should prove to be major contenders,” he said. “But Arellano and Perpetual Help should also be noticed.”