The Champions League that wrapped up its 2022 edition on Sunday night at the PhilSports Arena could only get bigger and wider in scope, according to organizer Philippine National Volleyball Federation.
Fifteen teams in the men’s division and eight in the women’s side competed in the Champions League with Cignal HD and California Precision Sports-Antipolo City winning the trophies.
“The objective is to hold next year and years after that provincial or regional tournaments on the way to the Champions League,” PNVF President Ramon “Tats” Suzara said. “And the focus will always be on the grassroots, the local government units [LGUs].”
Ten of the 23 teams in the recent Champions League were provincial squads and Suzara said that the impact of this year’s edition has inspired other LGUs to participate next year.
“Next to basketball, volleyball is bound to be the next team sport Filipinos will be seriously engaged in,” said Suzara, adding the PNVF has a packed 2023 calendar with the Champions League set in its November schedule.
According to Champions League competition director Oliver Mora, there were more LGUs which clamored for inclusion but were turned down because of regulations on competition schedule that are all under International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) format.
The PNVF organized two international competitions this year—a men and women leg of the Volleyball Nations League at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last June and the Asian Volleyball Confederation Women’s Cup also at the Philippine Sports Commission’s PhilSports Arena last August.
And the PNVF isn’t done yet, according to PNVF Secretary General Don Caringal, as Subic is set to play venue to the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour featuring top teams in the world with four Philippine squads participating. The event is set from December 8 to 11.
The HD Spikers won the title in a five-setter over North Cotabato, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12, while the CAL Babies amazed with a 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 win over University of the East-Manila. Cignal’s Marck Espejo and Antipolo City’s Casiey Dongalo were named Most Valuable Players.
Imus City took beat PGJC-Navy, 25-16, 25-22, 34-32, to win the men’s bronze medal while KMS-Quezon City downed Imus City, 25-21, 24-26, 21-25, 25-19, 15-9, to also place third in the women’s division.
Running away with the women’s individual awards were Best Outside Hitters Janeca Lana (UE-Manila) and Dongalo (CPS-Antipolo), Best Middle Blockers Jenalyn Umayam (Antipolo) and Riza Nogales (UE-Manila), Best Libero Jellie Tempiatura (Quezon City), Best Setter Gyzelle Sy (Imus) and Best Opposite Hitter Jelaica Gajero (Antipolo).
In the men’s side, the awardees were Best Outside Hitters Espejo and Joshua Umandal (North Cotabato), Best Middle Blockers John Paul Bugaoan (Cignal) and Kim Malabunga (North Cotabato), Best Libero, Manuel Sumanguid (Cignal), Best Setter Esmilzo Joner Polvorosa (Imus) and Best Opposite Hitter Joeven Dela Vega (PGJC-Navy).