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Beach Volleyball

Cherry Rondina, Bernadeth Pons look to sustain momentum gained in Boracay Open

There are plenty of positives in the Philippines’ campaign in the recently-concluded FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open presented by Globe, highlighted by the gallant fifth-place finish of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons.

After matching last year’s quarterfinals run in the Beach World Tour over the weekend, the country’s top sand court players are looking forward to elevating their level of play in future international competitions.

“Given a chance, paghahandaan namin ito,” said Rondina, a four-time UAAP beach volleyball champion with University of Santo Tomas.

“We are grateful and blessed na sa mga nakalaban namin, marami kaming natutunan.”

Reunited with Pons, Rondina powered the Philippines to two victories against Japan’s Shinako Tanaka and Miyuki Matsumura, 21-14, 21-8, in pool play. They then pulled off a dominant 21-18, 21-6 win over Ekaterina Filina and Ekaterina Zazhigina of Russia in the Round of 12.

The erstwhile-collegiate rivals lost to Japan’s Sakurako Fujii and Minori Kumada, 17-21, 19-21, in the quarters. Still, they put up a gutsy stand in front of an energetic crowd at the White House Beach Station 1.

“So thankful sa opportunity na makapaglaro sa FIVB (Beach World Tour). Maybe in the next FIVB (Beach World Tour), makakapag-prepare kami ng mahaba at mas malayo pa ang marating namin,” said Pons after her international debut in the Beach Volleyball Republic-organized tournament.

“Sobrang saya pa rin namin. Sobrang nagpapasalamat ako sa opportunity na makapaglaro dito, and sobrang thankful ako sa support ng mga tao dito sa Boracay.”

The country has shown improvement in the Beach World Tour 1-star event, with Bea Tan and Dij Rodriguez making it to the Round of 12. Meanwhile, Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontaño put up a tough fight against the tough Russian pair of Ekaterina Filina and Ekaterina Zazhigina before exiting in pool play.

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Like Rondina, veterans Tan, Estoquia, and Demontaño have completed their second straight Beach World Tour campaign. A fourth Philippine women’s pair, Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor, played in the qualifiers.

The men’s teams were composed of Ranran Abdilla and Jesse Lopez, James Buytrago and Krung Arbasto, and Mike Abria and Jade Becaldo. The three pairs played with a lot of pride to gain the much-needed experience going up against top-notch international players.

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