Spikers’ Turf men’s volleyball kicks off at Paco Arena on Sunday

WHERE passion meets power.

That will be the battlecry of the country’s best and brightest men’s volleyball players as they clash for pride and glory in the Spiker’s Turf unfurling this Sunday at the Paco Arena.

“Our new Spikers’ Turf tagline is very apt. Men’s volleyball may not be at par with the popularity of women’s volleyball, but our men’s players are passionate people as well,” said tournament director Mozzy Ravena during yesterday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Philippine Sports Commission conference room in Manila.

Imus, mentored by multi-titled coach Sammy Acaylar, and Sta. Rosa opens up hostilities as the two collide at 4 p.m. with an Army-Navy showdown following suit at 6 p.m.

Other teams seeing action is defending champion National University-Archipelago Builders, Cignal, AMC Volleyball, PGJC-Navy, Army, Vanguard Volleyball, Air Force and newcomer D’Navigators Iloilo.

“We started with a few teams, now we’re up to 11 teams, which is a good sign that shows everybody is interested not just in women’s volleyball but also men’s games,” said organizing Sports Vision Chief Ricky Palou.

Alyssa Valdez, the face of Philippine volleyball who is also Spikers’ Turf president, said she is expecting more intense and exciting action now that the league has started to grow.

“They’re all competitive and the players want to show their talent to everyone so we hope you watch the games and support our league,” said the star from Premier Volleyball League dynasty Creamline.

Gracing the PSA Forum were Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor, Imus head coach Sammy Acaylar, Santa Rosa assistant coach Carlos Cantor, D’ Navigators coordinator Francis Babon, Navy head coach Cecille Cruzada, Air Force head coach Jhim Merza, Army player Ken Baloaloa, Vanguard head coach Edjet Mabbayad, VNS head coach Ralph Ocampo, and NU’s Dela Cruz. AMC did not have any representative.

Gamedays are on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays featuring two matches at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The top four teams after a single round robin elims will advance to the semifinals, another single round robin phase with the top two clashing for the championship, a best-of-three affair.

Games will be shown live on ONE Sports ph, ONE ph, Cignal Play and Spikers’ Turf’s Facebook page.

Meanwhile, the PVL, in cooperation and under the guidance of the PNVF (Philippine National Volleyball Federation), will be conducting the PNVF Referees Refresher Course on Jan. 19 and 20 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

“After rolling out the video challenge system last year, we’re kickstarting the new season with this Referees Refresher Course, which will now be a regular fare preparatory to the PVL having its own group of referees culled from the PNVF Licensed Referees,” said Mr. Palou.

No less than Songsak Chareonpong, chairman of the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Committee, will grace the two-day event, which aims to improve and update the knowledge and competence of the participants as per international standards and at the same time encourage the development of refereeing skills not just in the league but also in the Spikers’ Turf. — Joey Villar