BORACAY – All eyes will be on the exciting duo of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons as the main draw of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open presented by Globe sizzles today at the White House Beach Station 1 here.
Reunited in the sand court, Rondina and Pons are going all-out to improve the country’s best finish of fifth place in the Manila Open last year despite the tremendous odds.
“Sa ligang ito, nandito na yung mas mga beterana, malalaki. Still, makakakuha din kami dito ng experience at may matutunan kami in this league at sa mga upcoming games namin,” said Rondina.
The highly-popular Rondina-Pons tandem debuted in the 29th Southeast Asian beach volleyball tournament in Singapore two years ago when the former collegiate rivals from University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University made it to the quarterfinals.
“Nakaka-excite kasi first time ko din ito na makalaro sa FIVB (World Tour). Siyempre, ini-expect kami ng mga tao na gagawin namin yung best namin in every game. Kasi siyempre, hindi lang basta-basta maglalaro kami dito. May goal din naman kami,” said Pons.
The duo is ready for what lies in the table in a tough international field.
The fifth Philippine pair, Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor, bowed to Gerda Grudzinskaite and Karole Virbickaite of Lithuania, 17-21, 14-21, in Thursday’s qualifiers.
Other Filipina pairs competing in the 1-star event organized by the Beach Volleyball Republic are Dij Rodriguez and Bea Tan, Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontaño, and Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain.
The young Lithuania pair rallied from a 9-11 second set deficit to complete the straight sets win.
Barbon has found some positives in their Beach World Tour debut with Eslapor.
Satono Ishitsubo and Asami Shiba, gold medal winners in the 1-Star Manavgat Open in Turkey last June 2018, will banner Japan’s campaign, along with Sakurako Fujii and Minori Kumada, and Shinako Tanaka and Miyuki Matsumura.
Not to be outdone is Thailand, which is led by its young pair of Thatsarida Singchuea and Pawarun Chanthawichai, champions in the SMM Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships last March in Roi Et, Thailand.
The other best Philippines’ FIVB World Tour women’s best finish was in Osaka, Japan way back in 2008 where Fil-Ams Heidi Ilustre and Diane Pascua took 13th spot.
Air Force’s Ranran Abdilla and Jesse Lopez will spearhead the country’s men’s campaign, which also includes collegiate standouts James Buytrago and Krung Arbasto, and Cebu’s Mike Abria and Jade Becaldo.
Russia’s Maxim Sivolap and Artem Yarzutkin, who won the gold in the Kg Speu 1-Star tournament in Cambodia to go with a silver in the Siem Reap 2-star in Thailand last month, leads the men’s main draw entrants which also has
SMM Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships gold medalists Phichakon Narathon and Phanupong Thanan of Thailand.