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Beach Volleyball

Dela Noche-Iraya swept by Thailand in Beach Volley U19 Worlds opener


Jay Rack Dela Noche and Alexander Iraya put up a gallant stand in a 15-21, 19-21 defeat to Thailand’s Narakorn Chumaphai and Veerayut Sopati in the 2021 FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships on Tuesday in Phuket, Thailand.

The Negrense pair was able to save two match points, the last an Iraya service ace, to cut the Thais’ lead to 19-20. But Iraya’s serve went wide in the next rally. That then allowed the Thais – fourth placers in the Third Asian U19 Championships in Nakhon Pathom last July – to escape with the straight-set win in Pool H.

De La Noche and Iraya seek to bounce back against Australia’s Jack Pearse and Lucas Josefsen at 3:00 PM, Wednesday.

The Filipinos are fielded in the tournament by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation and backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Rebisco, Asics, and Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano. They will wrap up their pool play stint against Estonia’s Karmo Saviauk and Kaur Erik Kais on Thursday.

De La Noche and Iraya are vying in their third international competition.

The University of Santo Tomas standouts made their debut last July in the Asian U19 and U21 Championships in Nakhon Pathom.

De La Noche and Iraya currently rank No. 351 in the FIVB men’s world rankings. They previously made a historic run to the quarterfinals of the Fourth Asian U21 Championships.

There are 32 teams in the main draw which consists of eight pools. The top three teams in each pool will advance to the Round of 24. A total of 72 teams (36 men and 36 women) from 31 countries are competing in the tournament that ends Saturday.

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