It started out as a one-day league to test the waters a few weeks ago, and culminated into a training ground that may possibly jumpstart an even better future for beach volleyball in the country.
The Philippine Super Liga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup opened Saturday with 10 teams in the men’s division and 13 teams in the women’s division, providing a tournament for beach volleyball athletes.
Among the names were veterans like Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain in the women’s, players with international mileage like Jade Becaldo and Edmar Bonono in the men’s, and household names even in indoor volleyball like Gretchen Ho, Charo Soriano, Fille Cayetano, and Cha Cruz.
Ho was one of the players very passionate about pushing for such venue, and to finally see the action unfold after putting up efforts along with other athletes, Ho feels grateful to be part of laying down the foundation.
“We were very happy. Kanina nag-jitters ako because it is my first time to compete in a semi-professional league,” Ho shared. “Parang wow, I am here and there is something like this here. Nakakatuwa dahil yung efforts namin nagpepay-off. We are getting more avenues to play and people are getting more excited about beach volleyball. I am excited about the things about to come.”
“Ayos ito para lagi kaming nahahasa and motivated to train and play. Beach volleyball shouldn’t just be a seasonal sport but it should be all-year round. It is a whole new arena and we are very passionate about it. Sana more people would invest to it para magkatotoo na ang mga pangarap namin,” she said.
“We can be competitive in the SEA Games. Starting this, we have a shot. In terms of the world level, malayo pa tayo sa USA, Canada, and Brazil where prime sport siya. Luckily, we have foreign coaches here that can help raise the level. I [hope] it grows bigger and it gets more coverage. Siguro kaya rin nitong pantayan what we have achieved sa indoor volleyball.”
Cayetano, who also competed in the tournament, echoes Ho’s sentiments.
“[I am] happy to be part of it and this is a great venue to showcase our individual players. Sana it becomes big just like indoor volleyball. It is a great stepping stone for beach volleyball and I am happy [the organizers] started it,” Cayetano shared, saying beach volleyball is something “also good to invest in.
She concluded by adding the country is only a matter of having a long-term program that will focus on training to lift the level of competition.
“It is also an Olympic sport. I think kung mayroon tayong partnership na solid, we can really go to places and internationally compete,” she said.
“I think we have to have a program and a team who can really teain everyday and commit to play the sport. We need an identity kung sino ang teams and players, and tuloy-tuloy na program talaga.”