The Philippine national beach volleyball teams left for Thailand on Sunday to compete in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Continental Cup, an Olympic qualifying event that offers two slots — top men’s and women’s finishers — in Tokyo.
The two-day competition is the second phase of the continental tournament. It takes place on Friday in Nakhon Pathom province.
This will be the country’s first international competition for a national volleyball team since the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. It is also the first for the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) since its establishment in January.
“We are hoping for a strong finish for our men and women beach volleyball teams in this Olympic qualifier,” PNVF President Tats Suzara said.
“Our athletes are adequately prepared for the competition, having set up a training camp in Pagudpud since last month.”
Making up the two women’s teams are the pairs of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons; and Dij Rodriguez and Babylove Barbon. Mer Jauculan and Gen Eslapor as reserves.
The men’s squads are the Jaron Requinton and James Buytrago tandem; and Jude Garcia and Anthony Arbasto duo. Ranran Abdilla and Philip Bagalay are alternates.
A veteran of the 2014 Continental Cup, Rondina — along with Pons and Rodriguez — clinched a bronze medal in the 2019 SEA Games. Dzi Gervacio was part of that team but won’t be going to Thailand because of a left knee injury.
The PNVF thanked the Philippine Sports Commission under chairman Butch Ramirez for the training and participation of the team in the Thai tournament. They also thanked Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc for supporting the athletes’ training camp in Saud Beach in Pagudpud.
The Philippines will face Japan, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka in the women’s contest. The top two teams then advance to the final phase from June 25 to 27.
Requinton, Buytrago, and Garcia also clinched a breakthrough bronze medal in the 2019 SEA Games. The Philippine men’s teams will face Australia, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Lebanon.
The no. 1 men’s team will also advance to the third and final round of the qualifiers.
The teams will be accompanied by national coaches Paul Jan Doloiras (women) and Rhovyl Verayo (men); and PNVF board member and Beach Volleyball Commission chairperson Charo Soriano.