The Arena, San Juan
July 5, 2014
V-League vs Super Liga?
I know most of you love volleyball. I do. You will probably agree with me that volleyball has arrived. The sport, next to basketball and running, draws the crowd. It does. Come and watch the games. The UAAP women’s volleyball competition, particularly bitter rivals Ateneo and La Salle, has drawing power from somewhere between 16,000 to 18,000. NCAA is closely coming through. There’s the Shakey’s V-League. Then the Super Liga. We haven’t even mentioned the Cagayan Friendship Games, which has become a yearly one-week spectacle for semi-pro squads.
But the biggest leagues of all, of course, are the Shakey’s V-League and Super Liga. Period. So when questions like which is the better league and which one attracts more of the crowd, it starts to jolt us. As much as we want the two to co-exist, it probably will not happen. Because as we see it, they’re on a collission course. One titan after another. It’s volleyball’s version of the San Antonio Spurs vs Miami Heat duel. Really, pitting these two leagues is unavoidable. We knew somewhere along the way, they will clash.
And it has begun.
Early signs of it was when Tony Liao, a member of the Sports Vision or the group that formed the Shakey’s V-League 11 years ago, announced the league’s bold slogan of its ongoing Season 11-Open Conference “Where it all started.” It’s like a shoutout to Super Liga that, truly, the VLeague was where it all begun and the Super Liga is just a beneficiary of the former.
And then news that Dindin Santiago, Carmina Aganon, Abby Marano and Royze Estampa were not allowed to play for PLDT Home Telpad in the V-League further created a friction between the two giants due to their contracts stipulating they can’t play in other leagues until the Super Liga is finished. Dindin, the reigning V-League MVP, and Aganon, of course, are playing for Petron Blaze, Marano and Estampa for AirAsia in the Super Liga and for PLDT Home Telpad in the V-League under fiery coach Roger Gorayeb. The Power Attackers, however, beat the University of the Philippines Maroons, 25-15, 25-21, 25-21, despite the four’s absence. But imagine if the four had played? It would have been a walk in the park. Dindin and Abby, former rivals, joining forces is a spectacle. But no thanks to that stupid prohibition, we will have to wait for several weeks to see that happen.
Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: I agree that the Shakey’s V-League should be credited for the country’s current volleyball boom and that Super Liga only exploited its popularity. V-League, of course, has intentionally decided to stay school-based and not turn into a semi-pro or pro league just like the Super Liga. It’s hard to blame a league like the Super Liga to take advantage of the opportunity that V-League did not capitalize. I also disagree with the Super Liga decision barring players from seeing action in the V-League. I mean come on? I mean this is free country. Let them play. Otherwise, this could trigger a bigger problem. What if, the V-League, in turn, decided to return the favor to the Super Liga and bar their players to play there? Let’s not make the players choose. That would be a mess. So come on people, please co-exist. Not just for the players but for the good of Phl volleyball as well. We are one, right?
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photos courtesy of Shakey’s V-League, Sportsmaryosep and Philstar.com)