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Bigger, better Super League in 2023

After the resounding success of its inaugural tournament, organizers of the Shakey’s Super League are plotting a bigger and better staging of its second conference next year.

Dubbed as SSL National Invitational scheduled in July 2023, the tournament will feature 12 of the finest teams the National Capital Region, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao have to offer in a weeklong collegiate volleyball action to be held in Manila.

“The purpose of this really is for us to develop new talents and give the other players who work just as hard as the players here in the UAAP and the NCAA who are out there in the province a chance to experience high-level of competition which otherwise, they would not have a chance to do so,” Athletic Events and Sports Management Inc. president Ian Laurel said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Complex.

The top three teams after the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 and National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 98 will represent NCR and join the pair of qualifiers each from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

“We want to showcase the best that they can offer talking about the Mindanao schools, Visayan and Luzon teams. We leave it up to them for the process of selection or elimination with local tournaments in their area to determine the strongest team possible,” Laurel added.

“It can either be a selection of different players coming from different schools just to represent the best of the best in that province. So that’s gonna be a big, big boost to the local scene in their respective regions for volleyball.”

The second conference will be a short tournament with breaks in between game days, according to ACES chairman Philip Ella Juico.

“We’ll fly the teams from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao here in Manila. They will be staying here. It will be a short tournament for about a week,” he said.

The ACES officials were also joined by SSL Collegiate Pre-Season Championship winners National University represented by head coach Karl Dimaculangan and wingers Bella Belen and Alyssa Solomon.

The Lady Bulldogs completed an 8-0 sweep of the SSL maiden conference last Saturday, beating De La Salle University in straight sets to rule the all-to-play tournament that was participated by all 10 teams from the NCAA and all eight squads from the UAAP.

NU added the crown to its UAAP Season 84 conquest, which ended its 65-year title drought.

The Lady Bulldogs also made a 16-0 season sweep capped by dominating La Salle in the best-of-three Finals five months ago.

Solomon, who was named SSL Most Valuable Player and Best Opposite Spiker, welcomed the planned second conference which will be held two months after the UAAP wars.

“We’re very excited about this. Again, it will give us more experience as well as exposure for them (regional teams),” Solomon said.

Meanwhile, another tournament set for January to February is also in the pipeline.

Laurel, however, declined to expound on the matter as ACES is still in the process of planning the event.

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