By Jerome Lagunzad
(San Juan Gym)
8 a.m. – San Juan vs Makati
(16-and-under Girls’ Volleyball)
9:30 a.m. – San Juan vs Parañaque
(24-and-under Women’s Volleyball)
12 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies
1:30 p.m. – San Juan vs MMDA
3 p.m. – Pateros vs Pasay
4:30 p.m. –Caloocan vs Quezon City
(16-and-under boy’s basketball)
Buoyed by the success of its inaugural staging through basketball last year, the Metro Manila Sports Festival comes back bigger and stronger on its second season with the inclusion of women’s volleyball to its competitions starting this Sunday at the San Juan Gym.
Under the auspices of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority together with the Metro Manila Council, the MMSF will feature not only promising talents from the 16-and-under boy’s basketball but also top prospects from women’s volleyball in the 16-and-under and 24-and-under divisions.
“Binibigyan rin natin ng suporta ‘yung mga babae nating atleta,” said MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia yesterday during the event’s launch held inside the MMDA Sports Center in Makati City. “I know this will be a very successful tournament and I hope itong mga ganitong projects natin makatulong sa ating mga kabataan.”
Ten teams – Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Makati, San Juan, Manila from the Central Division plus Taguig, Pateros, Pasay, Muntinlupa and Las Piñas from the South –will vie for the initial bragging rights in the 16-and-under girls’ volleyball tilt.
Mandaluyong, San Juan, Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Parañaque, Taguig, and Malabon are out to battle for supremacy in the 24-and-under women’s volleyball wars.
“We’re expanding,” said MMDA Sports consultant and MBT tournament director Bonnie Tan, who also shared center stage with league commissioner Pido Jarencio and MMDA Sports Director Atty. Cris Saruca.
“We have some inquiries about sa iba pang sports. We’ll take it slow. Alam natin ‘yung ibang cities, hindi naman sila nabibigla sa sports programs natin. Hopefully, with your continuous support, maipagpatuloy natin ang ganitong programa para sa ating mga kabataan.”
Leading the 16-team cast in the 16-and-under boy’s basketball is reigning Division 1 titlist Marikina, which will be joined by Caloocan, Quezon City, Valenzuela, Navotas, Manila, Mandaluyong and Division III champion Malabon in the North Division.
Comprising the South Division are Parañaque, Las Piñas, Pateros, Taguig, Makati, Pasay, San Juan and MMDA.
“Papalaki na ang liga natin,” said Jarencio, who disclosed plans of forming an open division in men’s basketball moving forward. “After this season, mag-o-open senior na tayo with the help of PBA. Aside from volleyball, baka may iba pa tayong events na pwedeng i-put up.”
Tan added that they have invited pro league commissioner Willie Marcial to grace the opening rites which will feature three blockbuster matches in the centerpiece 16-and-under boys basketball.