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Becaldo, Tan begin reign as new King and Queen of the Sands

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In the second leg of the King and Queen of the Sands presented by Smart held last July 11, Bea Tan and Jade Becaldo survived the grueling whole day tournament and handily topped Alexa Micek and Hach Gilbuena in the Finals, claiming their throne as the new King and Queen of the Sands.

In contrast to the tournament the same organizers held last June, this iteration featured a Co-Ed format. The eight male and female players each had a chance to pair up at least once throughout the day and battled each other in single sets up to 21. To determine the Final Four pairs, each player’s average scores were tabulated, pairing the best male scorer with best female scorer and so on.

Along with Tan and Micek, Ateneans Gretchen Ho, Michelle Morente and Charo Soriano, Foton’s Patty Orendain, then reigning Queen of the Sand Fiola Ceballos, and Fil-Am spiker Kayla Williams made up the pool of female competitors while Kris Roy Guzman, Aj Pareja, Rocky Honrade, Jp Pareja, Tim Young, and Jeriel Apelar joined Gilbuena and Becaldo in the men’s pool.

After playing either nine or ten classification games, the Final Four teams were set, pitting Team Patty and Kris with Team Alexa and Hach in the 3-2 matchup while Team Jeriel and Fiola squared off with Team Bea and Jade in the 4-1 pairing. Unlike earlier matches in the day, teams needed to win by two points move on to the next round. Team Bea and Jade easily emerged from their semifinal matchup while Team Alexa and Hach survived a late let-down and took care of Team Fiola and Jeriel, 25-23.

In the battle for third and what was arguably the best match of the day, Patty and Kris looked down and out as Fiola and Jeriel led them 19-15. However, thanks to a few misjudged receptions and attack errors from Fiola and Jeriel, Patty and Kris fell backwards into a 20-20 tie and a race to lead by two. Neither side refused to give way as the match continued to drag into long rally after long rally. In the end, consecutive errors from the Fiola and Jeriel side gave the bronze honors to Patty and Kris, 27-25.

After the match, Patty and Kris admitted that they knew they had a leg up on their foes as the had previously practiced together in UST. “Hindi na naging mahirap sa amin ni Patty na maglarong magkasama kasi ilang beses na rin kami nakapaglaro in practice sa UST. Ang sabi ko sa kanya, sipagan niya lang sa recieve saka sa dig, pipilitin ko patayin agad ‘yung bola sa 1-2,” said the UAAP Season 77 Beach Volleyball Silver medalist, Guzman who had to be treated after the Bronze medal match due to severe cramping of his lower body.

Competing in the day’s only best-of-three sets match, Bea Tea and Jade Becaldo showed great chemistry, took advantage of every quick attack opportunity they got, and sealed the title match in just two sets over Alexa Micek and Hach Gilbuena, 21-15, 21-16.

Considering the matches were played with a net for Men’s competition, Bea Tan admitted that she had to put aside some of her ideals in order to succeed in the tournament. “I’m sort of a feminist so I know I can do most things on my own, but given that the net was much higher than I was used to playing with and it was a Coed format, I tried my best to compliment my male teammates… I worked hard on recieving and digging and tried to keep the ball high so my male teammate could attack immediately then I tried to be really efficient with my placement shots,” remarked Tan.

Cebuano beach volleyball star, Jade Becaldo, on the other hand, said that he was impressed with Tan’s overall game. “Sa mga ganitong tournament, alam ko ng karamihan talaga ng atake dapat lalake ‘yung gagawa kasi nga medyo mataas ‘yung net. Na-execute naman namin ni Bea ‘yung plano namin na pagka-recieve niya makaka-atake agad ako dapat dahil nga alam namin na siya malamang ‘yung target ng mga atake at serve ng kalaban. Nakinig naman si Bea tapos nasulit namin ‘yung mga huli naming laban,” quipped Becaldo who also added that the almost 12-hour tournament really tested his endurance.

Aside from the prizes that the teams earned, competitors admitted that the day-long tournament served as a great preparation for the upcoming PSL Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup this Saturday, July 18. “Magandang preparation siya for PSL kasi karamihan ng nakalaban ko today, makakalaban ko rin sa PSL saka nakita ko kung nasaan na ‘yung conditioning ng katawan ko,” said Patty Orendain who will be suiting up for Foton along with Fiola Ceballos in the Challenge Cup.

“Masaya ako kasi nakalaban ko ‘yung partner ko sa Finals. Parang naging training na namin ‘yung buong araw tapos naging magandang test ‘yung huling match kasi nga pagod na talaga kaming dalawa tapos maganda pa rin ‘yung nilaro namin,” said Becaldo who is paired with Hach Gilbuena in the Men’s Division of the Challenge Cup and are early favorites to win the tournament.

The tournament’s media coordinator, Gretchen Ho explained that she was elated at the reception the tournament she and the rest of the Beach Royals organized. Ho hopes that future events will also garner great turnouts. “The great thing about today’s tournament was we were all friends and we really pushed each other to do great and to prepare us for the other upcoming tournaments we were going to compete in… We noticed that the first tournament we held in June received a lot of attention so we worked hard to get the word out there about today’s tournament. We really didn’t expect that the there would be a crowd like today’s… I guess the great thing about our group is we’re more doers than planners. When we thought of doing another event we just immediately worked to make it happen. As we continue to organize more events, we’ll continually see things that we can improve and we can add to make the experience better for the athletes and the fans,” said Ho after the tournament.

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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