Saturday, July 04, 2015

Fair Play: When will LVPI realize NCR is not the Philippines?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's July 4 edition)
A FEW days ago, the LVPI announced it was meeting with the major stakeholders of the country to synchronize the schedule of volleyball games.

That’s good but what really stinks about this latest move is that six months after successfully booting out the Philippine Volleyball Federation, officials of the Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc. think that Pilipinas covers only the National Capital Region.

When this PVF vs. LVP brouhaha erupted, those outside Manila were caught by surprise because we all thought all was well in the national sports association for volleyball, the country’s second most popular sport.

In fact, one contacted me that they felt betrayed by the development in Manila because while they were talking with the PVF guys, poof, they went under, to be replaced by the LVPI.

And, up to now, the LVPI has only concerned itself with the UAAP, NCAA, Shakey’s V-League and the Philippine Super Liga, with no concerns whatsoever with volleyball leagues outside of Manila.

To be honest, I think it’s because of the UAAP, NCAA, V-League and the Super Liga why there was an upheaval in the first place. Why? These four leagues shows that there’s money to be made in volleyball in the Philippines, and when there’s money, there sure is factionism.

I asked the ousted PVF president Edgardo Cantada once what the fight is all about and he said, “It’s all about the money.”

But for leagues outside Manila, where there’s no money to be made and getting involved in the sport mean sacrificing time away from family and business, it’s all about the game.

In Cebu, we have the Cebu Volleyball Association, whose moth-balled project the Cebu Governors Cup led to the discovery of one Gretchel Soltones. From playing for Catmon in the Palaro, she suited up for the country in the SEA Games.

As of now, both sports commissions of Cebu Province and the Cebu City have genuine grassroots programs for volleyball. I call it genuine because it’s not those sorts of programs where the LGUs give uniforms to players old enough to vote and pass it off as a grassroots program.

And where is dear old Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas in all of this? Busy consolidating its power base in Manila. Which makes you think that perhaps that was the whole coup was about, to gain control of the Manila volleyball scene, the whole country be damned.

Because as of now, that’s the way things look. In the previous setup, when Cebu had the only LGU-supported and province-wide volleyball tournament, the PVF came calling.

Now, if you have one NSA that is only Manila-based and one ousted NSA that has the contacts in the province, who do you think will gain support?

Can you blame the ignored stakeholders if the PVF come calling?

Make no mistake, the LVPI got the support it needed from the POC, PSC and even the media, but for the group to succeed, it must come out of Manila and reach out to the rest of the country, for the simple reason that it is supposed to exist to govern volleyball in the Philippines, not the National Capital Region.

Should it fail to do so, it should stop pretending to be an NSA and call itself the Larong Volleyball ng NCR and let someone else take care of volleyball outside NCR.

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