Manny Pacquiao wants to open a lot of doors.
He wants young volleyball players to be hidden in local government units so that team owners give them the opportunity to let these talents shine and attract scholarships from major varsity programs.
He wants more opportunities for female athletes to show off their skills.
And taking lessons from his stewardship of the community-based Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), the eight-division boxing champion and former senator has organized a volleyball tournament to further expand his involvement in the grassroots sport.
On Friday, Pacquiao launched the Maharlika Pilipinas Volleyball Association (MPVA) to build on his promise to create opportunities for sports across the country.
“I hope that MPVA will become an institutional league in our country when it comes to volleyball… so that our compatriots will have the opportunity [to reach their dream of playing at a high level]Pacquiao said during the MPVA press conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Pasay City.
Optimism was high among the pioneering team owners, with some saying the league would “open doors for players to attract college scouts” and provide MPBL-like access to promising female athletes who “want the same opportunities male basketball players get.”
MPVA officials hope to further boost the national grassroots volleyball program by bringing the sport to local government units (LGUs), something the debuting league hopes will support aspiring volleyball athletes early in their careers.
To achieve this, teams must sign three homegrown players and limit the floor time of ex-pros to three at any given time.
Through the league, which organized a scouting combine for unknown players to showcase their abilities to team owners, Pacquiao is optimistic that aspiring athletes will be able to take advantage of opportunities to further hone their talents.
Men’s, junior tournament
A men’s tournament and a junior division are also in the works, Pacquiao said, adding that he wants to provide playing opportunities here so that local standouts don’t have to seek work abroad.
“My vision for MPVA when I say that I hope this becomes an institution [is that] this will be the home of Filipino athletes when it comes to volleyball so they don’t choose to play in other countries,” Pacquiao said.
“There are many young Filipinos who are inclined towards sports, but we lack to provide them with a program, so at MPVA, this is where they would start to get the encouragement and of course the realization of their dreams.”
The MPVA is expected to kick off in October and run until December this year, with 10 teams competing in a single round robin format in the opening tournament, which is expected to last around 65 matches. The play-offs and championship, meanwhile, will be a best-of-three affair.
“Players will be 18 years old [and above] and homegrown [athletes]we will try to discover more talents because this will be a community event,” said MPVA Commissioner Michael Tavera.
“Our journey is one of dedication to the sport, nurturing talent and giving back to our community. ..beyond that, if we reach Filipinos through the power of sports, we are very optimistic and confident that this (competition) will be successful,” MPVA acting president and CEO Emmerson Oreta added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints or questions, please contact us.