This Season 82, the UAAP will be adopting a new schedule format for the men’s and women’s volleyball.
Unlike the previous years’ scheme wherein men’s games are slated in the morning and women’s matches are played in the afternoon, the collegiate volleyball tournament will implement an alternating division schedule.
This is good for the men’s volleyball in the country as a whole.
Last year, the Philippines men’s volleyball national team made history when it clinched silver in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held in December.
Led by the lethal 1-2 punch of Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, the Pinoy hitters toppled Thailand from its seat at the throne during the semifinals en route to an empathic return to the gold medal match of the biennial meet.
More than 6,000 fans filled the PhilSports Arena in Pasig to witness that game, and head coach Dante Alinsunurin admitted that it was everything he and his troops ever wanted.
“Sobrang tuwa kasi eto naman talaga ‘yung hinihingi namin. Dati pa simula pa lang, sana kami naman ‘yung mapanuod ng maraming tao or makilala naman kami,” Alinsunurin said.
“Sabi nga namin noong first game, okay meron na tayong dumagdag na 12 persons. Game 2 nanalo tayo meron na tayong 13 persons. Ganoon lagi ‘yung sinasabi namin sa player na basta tuluy-tuloy lang tayo para dito sa third game maging 20 na ‘yan,” he added.
Since volleyball became more popular thanks to the help of media exposure, it was the men’s side who gets the least share in spotlight.
Playing in smaller venues in front of a small crowd while games are either televised on a smaller scale, late or not at all, the men’s spikers have received less support from the sports aficionados as opposed to their women counterparts.
While thousands of fans storm the venues for the women’s games, only a handful of supporters watch the men’s tourney live — a fact proven by the empty seats every elimination round in the UAAP.
The newest volleyball schedule will surely boost the audience statistics for the men’s tournament, giving the men spikers their well-deserved recognition.
As the sports get more exposure, the support for the men’s national team will ideally grow as well, which is what they need the most as they aim to reach even greater heights this year following their SEAG success.
UAAP Season 82 will fire off this month.