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Marciano/Pineda, Morada/Hingpit enter BVR Open semis

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Gathering some of the best local beach volleyball talent, the Beach Volleyball Republic Open Tournament persisted through heavy rains and had the pairs of Sheila Pineda-Janine Marciano, and Maica Morada-April Hingpit dominate Day One of the tournament. The pairs both came out of Pool B to makeup half of the semifinals cast with the other half to be determined after tomorrow morning’s contests.

Former UAAP beach volleyball champion, Bang Pineda and her Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns teammate, Janine Marciano swept all three of their matches. The spunky pair first handled Atenean Michelle Morente and Mich Otoshi in straight sets, 21-19, 21-13 in the morning. In their noon tilt, they beat out another pair of former Lady Eagles in crowd-favorites Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and Denise Lazaro, 21-9, 22-20, before rounding out their day with a 21-14, 21-15 triumph over Rose Mary Cailing and April Joy Romero.

The Petron Blaze Spikers’ team captain in the recently concluded Philippine Superliga season, Maica Morada and the Cignal HD Spikers’ starting setter, April Hingpit also breezed through their three matches, taking care of Cailing and Romero 21-11, 21-12 in the morning, sweeping Morente and Otoshi 21-17, 21-18 in the noon, and quickly drubbing Cayetano and Lazaro 21-10, 21-10 in the afternoon.

Team Pineda-Marciano and Team Morada-Hingpit will throw down in their final match of the Group Stage tomorrow’s opener to determine the final seeding in Pool B.

“Siguro in-enjoy lang talaga namin ‘yung mga laro. Mahirap kasi nga umuulan and kailangan mas concentrated ka sa ball control kasi bumibigat ‘yung bola. Pero sobrang saya namin,” said former Adamson Lady Falcon, Pineda who revealed that she and Marciano did not practice together before the tournament.

“Matagal na rin kasi kami ni Bang (Pineda) magka-teammate so parang gamay na namin ‘yung galaw ng isa’t isa,” Marciano added.

Pool A, on the other hand, still has no qualifier to the semifinal with three pairs still in contention.

Petron’s Brazilian import in the recently concluded PSL Grand Prix, Rupia Inck and Ateneo beach volleyball veteran, Bea Tan ran through their first three matches before succumbing in their final game. Tan and Inck sprinted towards the end of their 21-19, 19-21,15-6 win over UP Lady Maroons Arielle Estrañero and Vina Alinas in their morning tilt. They then eked out a close 21-18, 21-18 decision over Charo Soriano and Alexa Micek before crushing SSC-R Lady Stags Mariel Sinamban and Julie Ann Tianco 21-9, 21-7.

In the day’s final match, Air Force’s Judy Ann Caballejo and Camille Abanto kept their semifinal hopes alive, methodically dissecting the worn out Tan and Rupia in an exhilarating 14-21, 21-10, 15-9 decision. Caballejo and Abanto split their initial pair of matches, outmuscling Sinamban and Tianco 21-15, 21-10 before dropping 21-13, 21-14 sweep at the hands of Micek and Soriano.

Two of the country’s most active beach volleyball competitors, Fil-Am Alexa Micek and former Ateneo Lady Eagle Charo Soriano also won over Estrañero and Alinas 21-10, 21-12 to tie with Caballejo and Abanto at 2-1.

With the possibility of triple-tie in Pool A, tomorrow morning’s last two Pool A matches will determine who moves on the semifinals. Micek and Soriano will take on Sinamban and Tianco in the day’s second match while Caballejo and Abanto will face Estrañero and Alinas in the fourth game. If Teams Rupia-Tan, Micek-Soriano, and Caballejo-Abanto all end up with 3-1 slates, quotient will determine which two teams move on.

Matches will start at 8 a.m. at the Sands by the Bat in the Mall of Asia grounds.

Group Stage Standings:

Pool A
Tan and Rupia 3-1
Caballejo and Abanto 2-1
Micek and Soriano 2-1
Estrañero and Alinas 1-2
Sinamban and Tianco 0-3

Pool B
Marciano and Pineda 3-0
Morada and Hingpit 3-0
Cayetano and Lazaro 1-2
Morente and Otoshi 1-2
Cailing and Romerl 0-4

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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