The kick off of the 11th GUV Cup reminds me of why I think volleyball in this country, while already popular, is being hampered ironically by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc., the NSA (National Sports Association) tasked to manage its growth in the country.
When the GUV Cup started more than a decade ago, the NSA was the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) and I remember it sent a representative to the tournament, praising the province-wide event as one that should be emulated all over the country. However, in what seems to be the normal path for sports leaders in the country, the PVF got caught in a political infighting that eventually led to its demise.
Another group, the Samahang Volleyball ng Pilipinas took over before the PVF fought for its recognition, before yet again another group was ordered to be formed, the PNVF Inc. All of these things happened while pro leagues sprouted up in Manila and tournaments like the GUV Cup kept the sport alive in areas outside of Manila.
While volleyball, especially the pro leagues, is widely followed in the provinces thanks to social media, you can barely feel the presence of the PNVF. I doubt they have any programs—for players or officials—designed to benefit those outside Manila, which is a very big shame.
Their lack of vision is hampering the growth of the sport. I mean you don’t have to be an expert on the sport to know that various towns, cities and municipalities have their own version of the GUV Cup, why not organize them in a step-ladder format that ends with a battle of champions?
Doing that could not only synchronize the calendar but also expand the PNVF’s database of players and coaches.
But then again, going that route also means the PNVF has to dedicate time and resources outside of Manila and I think they’d rather jump through fiery hoops than do that.
So, while they keep their focus on Manila, officials like Gov. Gwen Garcia do their job for them by holding the GUV Cup, this time expanded to include the youth level.
Only a few teams are joining the age group but that is expected to change next year. Moalboal, which has free grassroots training for the age groups, is planning to send youth teams next year, as will other LGUs with a strong local volleyball scene like Talisay and Catmon.
Again, all of these events are happening outside of the NSA’s umbrella, which is sad since it is proof that the PNVF hasn’t maximized the potential of the sport in the country.
Will that ever change?
I doubt it. So every time a new season of the GUV Cup kicks off, it reminds me of what the NSA has failed to do.
I mean, if the PNVF is really serious about developing the sport in the country, all it has to do is look at what the Philippine Football Federation is doing. It maintains a presence in the region and designs programs for both players and coaches outside Manila.
And it has a step-ladder national competition.