There may still be two playdates left, but the man behind the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championships is already considering it as a massive success.
Ian Laurel, the president and chief operations officer of organizing Athletic Events and Sports Management Inc., said he is very happy with the turnout of the inaugural tournament that serves as the launching pad of schools as they head for their respective collegiate season.
He said fans — mostly students of 18 competing schools — have embraced the tournament, making sure to catch the action at the historic Rizal Memorial Coliseum during the weekends.
Right now, the SSL had already reached its crucial stretch with University Athletic Association of the Philippines powerhouse squads National University, University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University and Adamson University slugging it out in the Final Four.
The Lady Bulldogs, the reigning UAAP champions, will battle the Tigresses while the Lady Spikers will face the Lady Falcons in a pair of explosive semifinal matches on 11 November.
The sudden-death title duel and bronze medal match are set on 19 November.
“The tournament might not be over but we’re happy with what we saw and how happy the fans are,” Laurel told host Nikki Viola during the latest episode of The Athletes’ Tribune.
“What we just did was find a spot where we could help out. We’re just looking for a spot where we can fit in and fill up what’s missing in volleyball.”
Laurel said the presence of their major sponsor — Shakey’s Pizza Asia Ventures Inc. — was such a big boost to the success of their fledgling tournament.
“If we invited the schools without a partner, they might not be comfortable to join,” said Laurel, who also played a key role to the success of the Philippine Superliga together with ACES chief executive officer Philip Ella Juico.
“As we know, Shakey’s is synonymous with Philippine volleyball for the past 15 to 20 years.”
Aside from gaining the support of the collegiate teams and a major sponsor, Laurel said their innovations like the “all-to-play” rule and challenge system also drew them closer to the fans.
The pizza giant also came up with a promo in which fans can donate P100 to the athletic program of their chosen school every time they purchase the Shakey’s Super League bundle.
Laurel, who was the ace playmaker of UST back in the day, refused to divulge who among the participating schools is set to get the biggest financial support from the Shakey’s Super League bundle, but stressed that all teams will be given incentives.
“The champion will be getting a trophy and we will be giving them incentives as a support to their athletic program,” Laurel said.
“Other teams will also get incentivized as well.”