The coronavirus is still very much alive here and all over the world and as a result, sports is struggling to stay alive.
I will take volleyball as an example. Prior to the pandemic, everything was set for a good volleyball year here, with the rival groups Philippine Superliga and the Premier Volleyball League lining up their year-round programs. In fact, the season had already started while both the major collegiate leagues, the UAAP and the NCAA, reaping the benefits of the sport’s popularity, were seeing big crowds in previous seasons.
Unfortunately, though, men’s volleyball has yet to catch up with its female counterpart in terms of popularity and lags behind in gate attendance.
Just before the onset of COVID-19, too, the ruling International Volleyball Federation had initiated talks with both the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas and the Philippine Volleyball Federation, previously the uncontested National Sports Association for volleyball locally succeeding the Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association, for the purpose of unifying Philippine volleyball.
An FIVB delegation was supposed to come to the Philippines late first quarter of the year after an exchange of letters between the parties concerned, but as it was, the pandemic stopped sports on its tracks, and so far nothing has been heard of the matter.
For the forthcoming Philippine Olympic Committee election on Nov. 27, PVF’s Boy Cantada again made a pitch for his association to be the one to represent volleyball instead of the POC-recognized Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, but I would not hold my breath waiting for Boy’s plea to be resolved in time for the election.
After all, this issue has long been festering for years and in fact, when Ricky Vargas assumed the POC presidency, I expressed the wish in a column piece that settling existing disputes between contending groups as the rightful NSA for several sports be a priority of Ricky. Unfortunately, he has already stepped down from his position and these disputes remain unsettled to now.
Now, why am I dwelling on this matter for today?
I was supposed to write about the 2020 Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup set late this month by the PSL, which, for all intents and purposes, the last volleyball tournament the public would see this year. I have to give credit to the PSL for taking the initiative and come up with this event, a needed boost for volleyball and sports here as well.
And it was a pleasant surprise to read that PVL teams Petro Gazz and Motolite had signed up to play in a PSL-organized tournament together with other PSL squads and teams from outside both leagues.
So it was not a pleasant surprise, in turn, to read recently that the Subic beach volleyball event has been moved to next year, partly due to the coming of strong typhoons recently into the country, plus health concerns.
My point, since the PSL and the PVL have allowed their teams to play together, why not go further, just like what the FIVB is trying to do with the PVF and the LVPI, and unite once and for all for the sake of Philippine volleyball. It goes without saying that the POC has to play its part in settling the issue not just between the PVF and the LVPI, and hopefully, it cascades down to the PSL and PVL.
I will be the first to admit, too, that in both cases, it is easier said than done as a lot of issues need to be addressed, a lot of egos to be massaged. Personal interests must give way to a common interest, again for the sport if this wish of mine for unity in Philippine volleyball is to become a reality.