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Beach Volleyball

Babylove Barbon-Gen Eslapor duo look to join top PH squads in FIVB Bora Open proper

The Philippines’ Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor will begin their campaign in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open starting Thursday at the White House Beach Station 1 in Boracay.

The young standouts from the highly-successful University of Santo Tomas beach volleyball program hope to make it to Friday’s main draw when the qualification matches start at 7:30 a.m.

The host country has four women’s teams in the main draw, as Sisi Rondina will be reunited with Bernadeth Pons in the four-day tournament organized by the Beach Volleyball Republic.

Other Filipina pairs competing are Dij Rodriguez and Bea Tan; Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontaño; and Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain.

Barbon – who paired with Rondina in the Tigresses’ remarkable three-peat conquest in the UAAP last September – is among the seven women’s pairs vying for slots in tomorrow’s main draw.

They will face Gerda Grudzinskaite and Karole Virbickaite of Lithuania in the afternoon session at 2 p.m.

Before competing in the Beach World Tour, Barbon and Eslapor emerged victorious in the BVR on Tour Dumaguete Open last month.

“The goal of the BVR national tour is to give our local players an opportunity to increase their competition level to the international level,” said BVR co-founder and tournament director Charo Soriano.

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.

“Teams have been training for this and we’ve been helping them through the BVR tours we’ve been holding,” said Soriano.

The double-gender $10,000 Boracay Open, a one-star event, is the 24th men’s and 23rd women’s event for the 2018-19 FIVB World Tour. The Beach World Tour returns to the Philippines for the second time following a double-gender, one-star event in Manila last year.

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The women’s and men’s main draw is set tomorrow, while the Round of 12 and quarterfinal matches are scheduled on Saturday. The semifinals and the medal matches will be played on Sunday.

The winning women’s and men’s teams will receive $1,000 prizes, while also earning points for a shot at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Finals.

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