Cherry Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron XCS maintained their domination over the Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup for the second straight season after capping another perfect run, outlasting DM Demontano and Jackie Estoquia of Sta. Lucia A, 21-8, 21-11, in the winner-take-all Finals on Sunday at the Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia.
Rondina and Pons — arguably two of the top beach volleyball players in the country — made a short work of Demontano and Estoquia to complete their title defense via a five-game sweep of the tournament, just as they did when they ruled the 2017 edition.
“Na-survive namin and we’re blessed na natiyagaan naming dalawa. Siyempre thank you kasi nandun pa rin yung connection namin sa isa’t isa,” Rondina expressed.
“Nahirapan naman talaga kami kasi competitive naman talaga yung mga kalaban, mabibilis,” Pons pointed out. “Ang ginawa lang talaga namin ginusto naming manalo. Bawat makakalaban namin ginusto naming talunin at ito yung naging result.”
The Lady Tamaraw-Tigress duo had a sizzling 15-6 start in the opening set and never looked back, drawing first blood.
Demontano and Estoquia put up a gallant stand in the second set, keeping Rondina and Pons within striking distance, 7-8, but errors fueled Petron into pulling away with a 19-10 spread and shattering Sta. Lucia A’s title hopes.
Last year’s runner-ups Patty Orendain and Fiola Ceballos of Generika-Ayala A took down Michelle Morente and Fritz Gallenero of F2 Logistics, 21-7, 21-14, to bring home third place.
Oredain and Ceballos failed to make it to the Finals after tormentors Pons and Rondina sent them packing in their knockout semifinals duel on Saturday.
“We’re happy with the win. Although, we didn’t make it to the finals, still, third place isn’t bad at all,” Orendain said.
“We just enjoyed the game. No pressure. It was our last game so we gave our all,” Ceballos added.
Foton‘s Anthony Arbasto and Kris Roy Guzman, meanwhile, took down Sands by the Bay‘s Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad, 21-15, 21-15, to rule the men’s division.
Arbasto and Guzman, the nephew and uncle duo from University of Santo Tomas, exacted sweet revenge on Bagunas and Natividad — who dethroned them in the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament — and handed them their only defeat in Pool A of the elimination round
“It’s a big deal for me and KR after they defeated us in the UAAP,” Arbasto said. “When we heard that they will be competing, we were motivated to meet them again in the finals and, this time, to win against them.”
“In our first meeting (during the preliminary round), they defeated us in straight sets, that’s why my uncle, KR, told me that we should adjust and target their weakness, which was long balls and smart hits at the back,” Arbasto added.
Smart’s Philip Bagalay and Gregory Utupo bagged bronze after defeating Cignal’s Jessie Lopez and Mike Abria, 21-16, 22-20.