BY ABBY TORALBA
All 18 NCAA and UAAP teams are ready to prove their worth in Shakey’s Super League which begins this Saturday.
Supported by Shakey’s Pizza Asia Ventures, Inc. (SPAVI), the tournament will take place at the historic Rizal Memorial Coliseum, the first event to take place at RMC since the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“Kami ecstatic. Deliriously happy. We have 18 top schools in the country,” Athletic Events and Sports Management, Inc. President Philip Ella Juico said last Saturday during the SSL press conference at the Philippine Sports Commission Hall. .
According to Dr. Adrian Laurel, president and chief operating officer of ACES, the preseason collegiate competition will take place every weekend and will last eight to nine weeks.
“The reason (for this) is that we wanted to ensure that student-athletes could focus on their studies and training during the weekdays and have the opportunity to perform at a high level during the weekends”, Laurel, who was joined at the launch by SPAVI President and CEO Vicente Gregorio, SPAVI Managing Director Jorge Q. Concepcion and Head of the Commission on Sport Development in Higher Education , Ana Yangco.
The 18 teams will be split into four groups in the preliminary round, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the playoffs. After that, the top two teams will face off in the knockout semi-finals for a chance to qualify for the win-win championship match.
Group A will consist of Perpetual Help, University of San Beda, University of Mapua, University of the Philippines and University of the East, while Group B includes University of Santo Tomas, Adamson University, San Sebastian College, Lyceum and Emilio Aguinaldo College.
Pool C will be crowned by the reigning UAAP National Champion University, Ateneo, Jose Rizal University and Arellano University. while Pool D includes the title roster from NCAA College of St. Benilde, La Salle, Far Eastern University and Letran.
CSB coach Jerry Yee, who led the Lady Blazers in their historic sweep last season, told Malaya Business Insight the league would be beneficial to expose the team with its five rookies.
“Ano tayo ngayon, (for) the exposure of many players,” Yee said. “We let them all play.”