How Philippine Volleyball Became The True Winner in a Stacked Final Four Sunday

Last Sunday, the PVL and UAAP attracted huge crowds in their doubleheader, while the Spikers’ Turf showed growth in their own pairing.

Undoubtedly, last Sunday’s Philippine volleyball game day was as stacked as it could get, with the UAAP, PVL, and even Spikers’ Turf being in their Final Four rounds. 

But more than the competition, Sunday was special for the volleyball community thanks to these three leagues, with the PVL and UAAP holding respective Sunday doubleheaders in Araneta Coliseum and Mall of Asia Arena with identical 4 PM and 6 PM playtimes. 

Men’s semi-professional league Spikers’ Turf meanwhile, continued its Final Four action at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Malate earlier on Sunday. 

Why so? It was a clear show of love toward Philippine volleyball, with nearly 40,000 people combined watching in Araneta, MOA, and even Rizal Memorial. While both UAAP and PVL are no strangers to mammoth crowds, it’s nonetheless amazing how both a collegiate and pro league indirectly united on a Sunday to indicate the country’s growing love for volleyball. 

Spikers’ Turf, meanwhile, and the rest of men’s volleyball is still on the rise, but it’s hard not to recognize their strides on a special Sunday for Philippine volleyball. 

A full house Araneta witnesses a rivalry renewed
Philippine volleyball Creamline
(Photo Credit: PVL on Facebook)

According to the PVL, a combined 17,834 spectators trooped to Araneta to witness their doubleheader–a 4 PM matchup between the Creamline Cool Smashers and the Chery Tiggo Crossovers, and a 6 PM closer featuring the Choco Mucho Flying Titans and Petro Gazz Angels. 

Heading into Sunday, Creamline, Choco Mucho, and Petro Gazz all had shots at booking a Finals berth, while Chery Tiggo could spoil the Cool Smashers’ chances at best.  

For starters, Creamline and Choco Mucho were last year’s Finals contenders, with Creamline being the PVL’s undisputed best. Petro Gazz and Chery Tiggo meanwhile, come in with reinforcements such as Brooke Van Sickle for the Angels, and former F2 stars Aby Maraño and Mylene Paat for the Crossovers among others. 

At the end of the doubleheader, it was Creamline and Choco Mucho setting up a Finals rematch. Creamline swept the Crossovers 25-16, 25-21, and 25-20, and Choco Mucho dispatched Petro Gazz in four sets, 23-25, 26-25, 25-19, 25-20. 

Over 20,000 in MOA sees history repeated
Philippine volleyball UST-DLSU
(Photo Credit: UAAP Season 86 Media Team)

41 kilometers away in Pasay, reports say a crowd of 19,505 pulled up to MOA to witness the twice-to-beat UST Golden Tigresses and La Salle Lady Spikers clash for a third time. A win for UST meant their first Finals berth since UAAP Season 81, while a La Salle victory forces a do-or-die matchup. 

And in the MOA Arena, it was the Golden Tigresses escaping the defending UAAP champions in five sets. More than the Finals berth, it was also a repeat of Season 81, where the Sisi Rondina-led Tigresses dethroned a four-peat-bound La Salle squad (also in five sets) to enter the championship rounds. 

Love for men’s action 
Philippine volleyball CrissCross
(Photo Credit: Spikers’ Turf on Facebook)

Over at the men’s side, a modest 850 spectators were present during the UST Golden Tigresses’ sweep of top-seeded FEU Tamaraws in the UAAP men’s volleyball Final Four in MOA Arena–hours before their Tigresses’ victory over La Salle.

In the Spikers’ Turf, 832 spectators witnessed the five-setter between the Criss Cross King Crunchers and Cignal HD Spikers which featured names like Bryan Bagunas, Marck Espejo, Jude Garcia, and Jao Umandal.

An hour before Criss Cross and Cignal, an 855-strong crowd was recorded in a five-setter between the George Pascua-mentored Philippine Navy, and D’Navigators Iloilo. 

For the Spikers’ Turf, these figures should be indicative of a growing hype in the men’s volleyball landscape, considering that elimination matches may only garner about 150-400 audiences on average. While it’s far from the 2,016 spectators during Criss Cross and Cignal’s April 14 contest, the current numbers are a good indication, nonetheless. 

What more for the Finals and beyond?

Up next for our most of our Philippine volleyball leagues are the Finals. 

In the PVL, Creamline, and Choco Mucho will have a rematch of last year’s Finals, wherein Game 2 became the most-attended Philippine volleyball game with 24,459 spectators. What more now that Choco Mucho has ended Creamline’s 12-game streak over them? 

For Spikers’ Turf, Criss Cross and Cignal HD will settle their score in the Finals. As mentioned, those teams field some recognizable names in Philippine men’s volleyball, which makes it an interesting contest. 

In the UAAP, UST has always been well-supported by its fans throughout various eras, including this crop of young Tigresses. The same goes for their possible opponents, with NU establishing itself as one of the UAAP’s best in the 2020s, and FEU being a resurgent squad in the last two seasons. 

As for the men’s division, it’s still hard to determine the potential Finals matchup, with UST setting up a rubber match, and the La Salle-NU game yet to be played. However, based on history, FEU and NU have been the UAAP men’s volleyball powerhouses, with the latter on track for a four-peat.

UST has also been a consistent Final Four team – being runners-up in Season 85 – while La Salle has made the playoff rounds for a second-straight season.

And if this weekend is any indicator, alongside the collegiate school pride, then we can expect an ample amount of supporters to show up for our UAAP men’s volleyball Finals once set in stone.

Banner Image from PVL on Facebook.

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