University of the Philippines couldn’t wait to see action when the Shakey’s Super League unveils its inaugural season on 22 September.
UP team consultant Mozzy Ravena yesterday said with health restrictions easing up, they are happy to compete in a preseason tourney with the ultimate goal of growing and getting matured in time for Season 85 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.
Together with Adamson University, the Lady Maroons are the last team to throw their join the bandwagon of teams headed for the prestigious tourney organized by the same group that ran the defunct Philippine Superliga.
Also joining from the UAAP are Season 84 champion National University, De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University and University of the East while the National Collegiate Athletic Association teams will be coming in full force as well.
“Back then, it was hard for us to book friendly matches with other teams. Today, having a league to play before the season will be a welcome treat for all teams,” said Ravena, who used to be a star player for UST.
“Playing in the SSL will help the coaches make the decision on who will compose their final rosters. Now, we have an avenue to let them play actual games and get them familiar with the atmosphere and crowd. It’s really a big help to the players.”
Ravena said the SSL will give them the growth and maturity they badly need.
They, for one, will be parading a new coach in Shaq de los Santos together with a young crew like Alyssa Bertolano, Jewel Encarnacion and Irah Jaboneta, who are looking to bounce back from a dismal 5-9 record last year.
But with the SSL overlapping with the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference that starts on 8 October, Ravena assured that it will yield a positive result as far as participating teams are concerned.
“We look at these problems in a positive perspective. It also gives a chance for the assistant coaches to grow into the mold of being a coach,” Ravena said, brushing off concerns that De los Santos would focus more on his club team, Cignal, rather than UP.
“It’s a welcome treat for us from time-to-time. Our assistant coaches will be given the responsibility to be the head coach. The potential isn’t just on the players but on the coaches, our strength and conditioning, and trainers.”
“For me, I can see everybody growing as a whole with this tournament.”