The 8th season of the Gov Gwen Garcia Volleyball Cup finally opened last Saturday at the CICC, amidst speculation that the tournament would probably not push through because of so many situations, whether real or not, that would have caused its cancellation.
It would have been a pity because if there is any tournament in any sport, that has spurred an honest to goodness grassroots development here in Cebu, it is the volleyball tournament initiated by Gov Gwen.
Countless of kids have been discovered by high school and college teams and are enjoying at least full tuition scholarships.
The start of the tournament was a little late this year. Might as well because once the tournament is on stream, the CESAFI volleyball tournament would have culminated already and the LGU’s can avail of the services who were developed through their efforts, without any assistance from the school organization.
Anyway, the “biggest volleyball tournament in the Philippines” finally opened last September 29, 2012 at the CICC. The qualifications for the tournament have been revised this year. Preference is given more to natives and residents of the LGU’s. Gone are the players who based their eligibility on marriage or employment.
Last year “imports” were allowed giving the tournament a national flavor.
LGU’s who were not willing to spend the funds to bring over players from Manila, Bacolod and even Cebu City were put at a great disadvantage. So we would not be seeing the likes of Joan Bunag, Beatrice Gonzaga and Benjaylo Lavide.
The major revision this year is that most of the men’s and women’s team members should be 17 years and below. More new faces will therefore be seen in this year’s tournament. In the Mandaue City Men’s and Women’s teams alone, there are a total of 12 new players, five girls and seven boys. I highly suspect that this is one of the reasons why there are fewer participating teams this year.
Those who have been preparing on the basis of last year’s rules were caught flat footed and probably did not have ready replacements. Luckily for Mandaue, the strong programs of some elementary and high schools who have distinguished themselves as centers of excellence when it comes to volleyball continually crank out new players year in and year out. The barangay clinics which went through all the 27 barangays in the city also produced promising new talents.
I would not say that Mandaue prepared for the new rules. It just happened that the base of players is so broad that it would have been possible to form a second team which would still be competitive. If last year’s rules were kept, we would have had the same powerful teams that ably acquitted themselves in the tournament.
The ball is round and nobody can predict the results once the dust clears. What the Mandaue teams can assure the volleyball public is that it will come to the tournament ready and prepared, as always.