Satono Ishitsubo and Asami Shiba made short work of Sakurako Fujii and Minori Kumada, 21-14, 21-18, to capture the gold medal in an all-Japan finale, Sunday in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open presented by Globe at the White House Beach Station 1.
Shiba capped their unbeaten run with Ishitsubo with a drop shot to foil Fujii and Kumada’s bid to extend the match in the four-day tournament organized by the Beach Volleyball Tournament.
Chalking up their second career victory, Shiba and Ishitsubo displayed their superior skills on offense and defense that made them No. 86 in the world in front of a packed Sunday crowd that filled the beachfront, in this island resort’s first sporting event since last October’s reopening.
Narongdet Kangkon and Banlue Nakprakhong of Thailand took the men’s gold after topping Japanese qualifier Yuya Ageba and Nobuaki Taira, 19-21, 22-20, 15-8.
The Thais rallied in the second set after their opponents first reached championship point. They forced a decider, which they dominated.
In the semifinals, Japan are assured of winning a second consecutive Beach World Tour women’s gold in the Philippines, as Ishitsubo and Shiba swept Brittany Kendall and Stefanie Weiler of Australia, 21-16, 21-17; and Sakurako and Kumada topped Tjasa Jancar and Tjasa Kotnik of Slovenia, 21-15, 18-21, 19-17.
Kendall and Weiler nipped Jancar and Kotnik, 24-26, 21-13, 15-13, to claim third place.
The Philippines matched its fifth-place finish in the Manila Open last year behind Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons.
The country has shown improvement in the Beach World Tour, 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 Russian pair of Ekaterina Filina and Ekaterina Zazhigina before exiting in pool play.
Ageba and Taira overcame Simon Baldauf and Maximilian Trummer of Austria, 21-17, 16-21, 15-12, in a thunderstorm-delayed semifinal; while Narongdet and Banlue thwarted an all-Japanese men’s final with a 18-21, 21-18, 19-17 win over Jumpei Ikeda and Katsuhiro Shiratori.
Ikeda and Shiratori rallied from a set down to outlast Baldauf and Trummer, 16-21, 26-24, 16-14, and clinch the bronze medal.