The top collegiate, club and local government unit (LGU)-based teams collide as the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) launches the Challenge Cup on Tuesday, November 7, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.
Twenty squads make up the men’s division while the women’s side will have 16 teams. Participating teams will duke it out in 15 days of intense volleyball action, the penultimate tournament the PNVF, headed by Ramon “Tats” Suzara, is hosting this year.
“Three-peat” UAAP champion National University and reigning PNVF Champions League titlist Cignal headline the cast in the men’s division of the tournament supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), headed by chairman Richard Bachmann, along with PLDT, Rebisco, Akari, Foton and CBPI.
NU is in Pool B with RTU-Basilan, Arellano University, VNS Asereht and University of the East-Cherrylume while Cignal leads Pool A with Kuya JM-Davao City, Savouge Aesthetics, Volida Volleyball Club and University of Batangas.
PGJC Navy, 3B Marikina City, Angatleta-Orion, Bataan, Jose Rizal University and Plaridel, Quezon are Pool C as well as UAAP runner-up University of Santo Tomas, Tacloban City-EV, Iloilo D’Navigators, Santa Rosa City and Emilio Aguinaldo College are in Pool D.
In the women’s division, two-time reigning NCAA queen College of Saint Benilde spearheads Pool A with Volida Volleyball Club, UP Volleyball Club and Parañaque City.
Bunched in Pool B are Philippine Airforce, JRU, Davao City and Tacloban City-EV while Arellano, Letran, University of Batangas and RTU-Basilan make up Pool C.
Completing the fray are the University of the Philippines, San Beda, Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas and La Salle-Dasma in Pool D.
St. Benilde and Paranaque open the hostilities at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday in the women’s play followed by the clashes of RTU against Letran and La Salle-Dasmarinas against San Beda at 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., respectively.
In the afternoon games, Cignal begins its campaign against Savouge Aesthetics at 2:00 p.m. while NU takes on RTU at 4:00 p.m. UST and Sta. Rosa wrapping up the six-game opener at 6:00 p.m.
The Challenge Cup is the PNVF’s Champions League with a new name. The tournament was first staged in Lipa City in 2021 with F2 Logistics winning the women’s title and Team Dasma Monarchs ruling the men’s contest.
All teams slug it out in a single-round robin format within their pools with only the top two teams advancing in the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship will be played in a knockout format for the first crown of the PNVF Challenge Cup.