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Giligan’s duo of Diaz, Gendrauli makes mark in Manila



After Giligan’s completed a furious comeback to win the inaugural Philippine Super Liga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup women’s title, Jane Diaz and Danika Gendrauli stepped out of the sand courts silently, held hands together and offered a prayer.

They entered the tournament having nothing to lose, and just happy to be part of the fray. The came with the mindset of just competing with the rest of the participants.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Giligan's duo of Diaz, Gendrauli makes mark in Manila

Danika Gendrauli with a drop

At the start of the tournament, their names do not echo the loudest. There was even a point prior to joining where they almost didn’t have sponsors. “Very grateful kami dahil kami ni Jane, halos hindi rin namin alam kung sino ang mag-ssponsor sa amin until [the tournament started]’,” Gendrauli said.

Gendrauli, a Southwestern University product and Mandaue native, shouldn’t even be playing as she had been battling fever for three days; and yet she powered through, wanting to play the sport that gave her a career. “Naibabalik namin kung saan kami nanggaling,” Gendrauli shared what it means to be part of the competition.

In the end, the Giligan’s duo stamped their class to claim supremacy in the beach volleyball stage, overcoming adversity along the way. “Sobrang saya namin dahil lahat ng pagod namin nagresulta ng maganda. Hindi naman namin inexpect to. Sabi namin, maglalaro lang kami. Makapasok kami or hindi, okay lang,” Diaz said.

From Sisig Queens to Queens of the sand

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Giligan's duo of Diaz, Gendrauli makes mark in Manila

Jane Diaz with a drop shot

At the start of the contest, both Diaz and Gendrauli just wanted to play beach volleyball again. It has been part of their DNA, battling in countless competitions in the southern part of the Philippines. Although the tandem hasn’t played competitively since 2013, before the Challenge Cup provided them with a venue to again showcase their talents in the beach volleyball stage.

“Gusto lang namin maglaro ng beach volleyball and [dahil sa tournament] nakakapaglaro na ulit kami,” Diaz said.

Their trek towards the title did not come easy; they lost in the eliminations to Bea Tan and Pau Soriano’s Foton Hurricanes in the loaded Group D, before pulling out a hard-earned win over Petron Sprint 4T’s Alexa Micek and Fille Cayetano to punch the last ticket to the quarterfinals.

An easy win over the Amy’s pair of Samantha Dawson and Marleen Cortel gave Giligan’s passage to the semis where they would eke out a victory over Cignal HD B’s Wensh Tiu and April Ross Hingpit.

The last obstacle that stood in the way of their road to the championship crown was powerhouse Foton Tornadoes led by Patty Orendain and Fiola Ceballos. They yielded the first set, but came through with the decisive hits towards the end to book the title.

The pair is thrilled to have won the inaugural staging of the event.

“Hindi naman kami ganito dati so kahit papano, nakikita nila na may skills kami. Masaya na marecognize ulit dahil hindi kami nakalaro since 2013,” Gendrauli said. “Sobrang saya, hindi ko ma-describe ang nararamdaman ko.”

The duo added such accomplishment would the doors for more opportunities for their careers here in Manila, and they hope to elevate their games even more.

“Sana mahigitan pa namin kung ano ang meron kami ngayon. Huwag kami titigil matuto,” Diaz said.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Giligan's duo of Diaz, Gendrauli makes mark in Manila

Giligans’ Danika Gendrauli and Jane Diaz celebrating the championship point