Pre-tournament favorites Petron XCS and RC Cola-Army A intensify their respective title bids when they tackle separate foes in the resumption of the 2016 Philippine Superliga Challenge Cup beach volleyball tournament Saturday at Sands at SM By the Bay in Mall of Asia.
After pulling off an easy win in the opener, the seasoned tandem of Bang Pineda and Aiza Pontilas is tipped to have a serious challenge when they battle Cherry Rondina and Patty Orendain of Foton in the much-anticipated 3:00 pm match of this prestigious tourney bankrolled by Sands at SM By the Bay, Petron, Foton, Accel, Mikasa, Senoh and Island Rose.
On the same note, multi-titled Jovelyn Gonzaga and Nene Bautista of RC Cola-Army A will face the dangerous Meralco squad of April Ross Hingpit and Jonafer San Pedro at 6:00 pm following the 4:00 pm battle between the UE Lady Warriors and Standard Insurance-Navy A and the 5:00 pm encounter between Standard Insurance-Navy B and F2 Logistics of reigning champion Danika Gendrauli and Aby Marano.
Wrapping up the very busy schedule in the women’s division is the tangle between FEU-Petron of Kyla Atienza and Bernadeth Pons and Cignal Team Awesome of Mary Grace Berte and Vhima Condada at 7:00 pm.
Also expected to steal the thunder are the battles in the men’s side with twins Daniel and Tim Young of SM By the Bay facing the Perpetual brother tandem of Rey and Relan Taneo of Cignal Team Awesome in the 6:45pm match followed by the encounter between Philippine Navy A and FEU Tamaraws-B in the night cap at 8:30 pm.
Meanwhile, the 8:00 am match between Wayuk and FEU will tip things off followed by the match between UE Red Warriors and IEM at 8:45 am; FEU Tamaraws-B and Cignal Team Awesome at 9:30 am; Wayuk and Philippine Navy B at 10:15 am; FEU A and UE Manila at 11:00 am; Philippine Navy A and Cignal Team Awesome at 11:45 am; TVM and FEU B at 12:30 pm; and Philippine Navy B and IEM at 1:15 pm.
But still, the spotlight will be focused on Petron XCS and RC Cola-Army A, two heavyweights who are expected to figure for the crown of this tournament.
Petron XCS took a default victory over Mapua before breezing through Accel Quantum Plus, 21-7, 21-9, while RC Cola-Army A encountered little trouble in the opening set before hammering a 19-21, 21-16, 15-13 victory over FEU-Petron in the opener.
“We’re thankful that our communication as a team is still there,” said Gonzaga, a grizzled beach volley veteran who already represented the country in numerous tournaments abroad. “We just have to work hard because there are a lot of good teams in this tournament. We have to double our effort if we want to win the title.”
Petron XCS, for their part, is expected to have their hands full as it will be facing Rondina and Orendain of Foton, who are said to be two of the best spikers from the Visayas.
“They have the skills and the talent to make it big,” said Pontillas, referring to the Foton pair which also clobbered Accel Quantum Plus with an emphatic 21-3, 21-7 decision. “Facing them is really a major challenge so tingnan na lang natin. Gagawin namin lahat ng makakaya namin.”
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