Men’s volley hits scene with Spikers’ Turf April 5
MANILA, Philippines—Men’s volleyball tries to feed off from the popularity of the local women’s game as the sport’s best players get to strut their stuff in a new league.
The inaugural season of Spikers’ Turf unfolds on April 5 with UAAP MVP Marck Espejo of Ateneo, National University ace Peter Torres and actor and former national team member Richard Gomez leading the standouts seeing action in the eight-team tournament.
“We think men’s volleyball has not risen to the [popularity] level of the women’s [game] because they have no identity of their own,” said Moying Martelino, the chair of Sports Vision, the same organizers of the popular Shakey’s V-League.
“So we created a new league and the teams are practically star-studded. The country’s best players are participating.”
Shakey’s V-League staged a four-team men’s tournament last year where Instituto Estetico Manila emerged as champion.
“We experimented with the men’s division and there was a following, although it was not big, just like in the ladies before,” Sports Vision president Ricky Palou said in yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
“We have a feeling if we do the same with the men’s; it will be as popular.”
Spikers’ Turf kicks off just right before the 12th season of Shakey’s V-League, which likewise features an eight-team field bannered by perennial finalists Philippine Army and Cagayan Valley.
PLDT stands as an early favorite with a powerhouse cast headed by UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez of Ateneo, NU’s Jaja Santiago, San Sebastian’s Gretchel Soltones and former MVP Suzanne Roces.
“We have a good lineup because we now have fresh talents,” said PLDT coach Roger Gorayeb.
Coach Nes Pamilar, who’s mentoring Cagayan Valley in both leagues, also expects a tight competition.
“Looking at all the teams, the composition of players is good,” said Pamilar.
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