The country’s national beach volleyball teams are just a month away from competing in the 2021 AVC Continental Cup, an Olympic qualifier.
As preparation amidst the pandemic, the men’s and women’s squads entered the PNVF beach volleyball bubble in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte last May 15.
This marked the players’ first time to finally play on the sands again since COVID-19 got in the way.
“Ang pinunta lang talaga namin dito is court. Wala ng ibang iniisip. Sa tagal tagal ba naman naming nag-crave talaga, gusto talaga namin mag-training talaga,” said Sisi Rondina on The Game.
“Ang hirap kapag walang court. Kundisyon nga ‘yung katawan mo pero ‘yung galaw mo, parang nakakawala ng gana. Kaya thankful talaga kami na pinayagan kami dito.”
The Olympic qualifier taking place in Thailand next month will only have one spot up for grabs for each division. This now makes it a gigantic climb for the Philippines.
Despite the tall task they will face, Jude Garcia remains focused on surpassing what they achieved in the 2019 SEA Games.
“Kaya pinagpupursigihan po talaga namin na malagpasan pa ‘yung nakamit namin last SEA Games,” said the FEU product.
Joining the 20-player pool in the bubble is PNVF beach volleyball program director Charo Soriano.
And the player-turned-official marvels at Rondina’s and Garcia’s work ethic and leadership in the boot camp.
“These two players are so unique. I can really say na very unique itong dalawa kasi they really are the most competitive. They push each other, they are the fittest,” said Soriano.
“The others are also very fit, naglalabanan sila lahat, and that’s what good about the culture of the national team pool. They don’t let somebody just stay below, they pull them up and sabay-sabay silang umaangat together.”