Rizal Memorial Coliseum
May 11, 2013
Volleyball has arrived
That’s the biggest attendance ever recorded in a volleyball game. Yes, volleyball. Not basketball, not football, not a concert, but volleyball. Interestingly, it was a game between Ateneo and La Salle, the country’s bitterest of rivals. Like Duke vs North Carolina in US collegiate basketball, Army and Navy for football, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in baseball and Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics in pro basketball.
That was in MOA Arena, by the way.
In basketball, that’s easy. Ateneo and La Salle in basketball have drawn as much if not more paying patrons. But in volleyball? That’s historic, considering that the sport has always been underappreciated. Can we say volleyball has arrived?
It has to be.
It used to be that there was no semi-pro league in volleyball in the country. Thankfully, a group of visionaries blazed the way by putting up the Shakey’s V-League exactly a decade ago. I remember on its first year, the V-League relies on print media for its exposure. No television. No radio. No internet. And yet, when the championship round came, people filled the oven-hot Rizal Memorial Coliseum to the rafters. I mean No Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Viber, Google and anything. And yet, they managed to fill the Rizal venue up. I can only say wow.
Now there’s TV exposure. And with the help of social media, the popularity of volleyball has blown out of proportions. It also helped that Ateneo and La Salle both have a strong sports program. It also helps that there are role models. And pretty ones at that. Rachel Daquis? Michelle Gumabao? Gretchen Ho? Volleyball players are getting prettier each year. And they’re not just the face, its also the talent. I mean, these girls can play, I tell you.
So V-League has decided to venture out of The San Juan Arena and into bigger venues. Only last Sunday, organizers had to turn away patrons because the venue was so full, they couldn’t accomodate anyone anymore.
In Game One (May 14) and, if necessary, Game Three (May 19) of the Final Four, the Philsports Arena in Pasig City will be the venue while Game Two (May 16) is set at the MOA Arena. Games One and Two of the Finals are scheduled at the MOA Arena while a deciding Game Three, if necessary, is set back at the Philsports Arena.
It’s Ateneo vs University of Santo Tomas and National U vs Adamson in the V-League Final Four. Imagine if La Salle is playing?
Volleyball has truly arrived!
Follow Sportsmaryosep at Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photo courtesy of V-League)