The Philippines’ Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons made quick work of Japan’s Shinako Tanaka and Miyuki Matsumura, 21-14, 21-8, to barge into the Round of 12, Thursday in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open presented by Globe at the White House Beach Station 1 in Boracay.
A few days removed from completing her indoor volleyball stint for University of Santo Tomas, Rondina quickly adjusted to the sand court. She helped Pons score their first win in the main draw in front of a loud crowd that filled the venue in this famous island resort.
“Actually two days lang yung training ko. But before entering the training, naka-mindset na ako na babalik ako sa outdoors,” said Rondina, a four-time UAAP beach volleyball champion for UST.
“Siguro, it’s muscle memory, and then I watched sa YouTube, yung mga previous games namin (ni Pons), kung paano kami gumalaw. Ayun, it’s all about mindsetting,” she added.
Rondina faced the 43-year old Tanaka for the second straight Beach World Tour. In the Manila Open last year, Rondina, together with her former partner Dzi Gervacio, were eliminated by Tanaka and Fujii Sakurako for a spot in the semifinals last year in the match that went into three sets.
“Last year, gustong-gusto kong manalo at that time,” said Rondina.
“Ngayon, blessed kasi nanalo kami for the first time. Siyempre, Japan yun. Mahirap din kalaban ang Japan. Nakapag-adjust kami agad ni Pons and ayun, nanalo,” she added.
After a feeling their way through the match early, Rondina and Pons figured out the Japanese’ weaknesses.
“Hindi sila masyadong naba-block kaya kailangan naman namin umatake. So iyun ang ginawa namin,” said Pons.
“Mahirap, actually. Kasi ang buhangin pa lang, ang lalim. Naka-adjust naman. Pinu-push naman talaga yung hininga namin kasi mahirap talagang gumalaw,” said Rondina.
Up next for Rondina and Pons is another Japanese pair, Satono Ishitsubo and Asami Shiba, at 7:50 a.m. Saturday. They need another victory to make it to the quarterfinals outright.
The Philippines’ Bea Tan and Dij Rodriguez narrowly lost to Singapore’s Eliza Chong and Lau Ee Shan, 21-17, 13-21, 14-16. Meanwhile, the other Filipina pair, Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontaño, suffered an 18-21, 14-21 defeat to Australia’s Brittany Kendall and Stefanie Weiler.
In men’s action, James Buytrago and Krung Arbasto bowed to Singapore’s Fan Shen and Kingsley Tay, 12-21, 21-18, 5-15; Jessie Lopez and Ranran Abdilla fell to Norway’s Ruben Lovli and Kjetil Tellnes, 21-19, 19-21, 8-15; while Jade Becaldo and Mike Abria lost a 15-21, 14-21 decision to Japan’s Jumpei Ikeda and Katsuhiro Shiratori.
The women’s pairs of Tan and Rodriguez, and Estoquia and DM Demontaño need to hurdle their matches against Tan Hsi Yan and Tasha Mae of Malaysia, and Ekaterina Filina and Ekaterina Zazhigina of Russia, respectively, starting at 8:40 a.m. on Saturday, to remain in the competition.
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