SANTA ANA, Cagayan — Playing in a bubble environment is nothing new for Creamline beach volleyball ace Sisi Rondina.
“Familiarity na lang kasi nakalaro kami ng bubble, without an audience,” said Rondina, who will be paired with her long-time partner Bernadeth Pons for Creamline 1 at the start of the Beach Volleyball Republic On Tour first leg Friday here.
“Focus pa rin, hindi nagbabago iyan. Kailangang ilabas kung ano iyong play namin. Yung mga plano namin, most specially yung goal namin,” she added.
Prior to BVR, Rondina and Pons knows what it takes to perform in a bubble set-up as members of the Philippine team in the AVC Continental Cup – a qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Olympics last June in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
The BVR will be part of Rondina and Pons’ preparation, together with the other national team members for Asian Seniors Beach Volleyball Championship set on November 23-27 in Phuket, Thailand.
Rondina and Pons were among the 13 women’s pairs vying for the first leg championship which marks BVR’s return after a two-year hiatus.
The double-gender event, which also features 11 men’s squad, will start at 8 a.m.
The second and final leg will be played on October 28-31 at the same Santa Ana venue.
“This tournament is all about another learning experience. We are happy that BVR is back,” said Rondina, who won the tour’s most recent leg in Lianga, Surigao del Sur with Pons in September 2019.
“Masaya kasi dahil sa tagal na rin, dalawang taon na din tayo. Nagpapasalamat kami sa BVR kasi binigyan ulit tayo ng opportunity na maipakita kung gaano tayo ka-passionate about sports, lalong lalo na sa beach volleyball. Kung gaano natin kamahal ang beach volleyball,” she added.
A bronze medalist in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and a three-time BVR champion, Rondina knows that being fan favorites with Pons will not result to another instant title.
“Naa-appreciate namin, pero hindi kami nagba-base doon kasi ako, fan din naman ako ng mga volleyball players. Basta kami, naa-appreciate namin lahat ng fans na nagbibigay sila ng inspiration. To give us good luck,” said Rondina.
“We are happy that they still remember us.”
Other participants in the women’s division are Creamline 2’s Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez, PLDT’s Ella and Nieza Viray, TM’s Mer Jauculan and Hannah Cabansay, Biogenic Alcohol’s Roma Joy Doromal and Heather Guino-o, Toyota-Tuguegarao’s Nicole Tiamzon and Jho Maraguinot, Eastern Perlas Spikers’ Michelle Morente and Jules Samonte, Black Mamba Army 1’s Nene Bautista and Jeannie Delos Reyes, Black Mamba Army 2’s Jem Gutierrez and Audrey Paran, Good Health CDO’s Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor, Sta. Lucia 1’s Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontaño, Sta. Lucia 2’s Bang Pineda and Glaudine Troncoso and Delimondo’s MJ Ebro and Bianca Lizares.
Men’s action will see Creamline 1’s Jaron Requinton and Ranran Abdilla, Creamline 2’s Jude Garcia and Krung Arbasto, Creamline 3’s Pemie Bagalay and Jeffer Guerrero, PLDT’s Rancel Varga and Efraem Dimaculangan, Tuguegarao’s AJ Pareja and James Pecaña, EVI Construction’s KR Guzman and Jeremiah Barrica, Army-FSD Makati 1’s Randy Fallorina and Jason Uy, Army-FSD Makati 2’s Joel Villonson and Joshua Barrica, DeliRush 1’s Evan Laraya and Julius Sioson, DeliRush 2’s Joven Camaganakan and Rhenze Hu and Negros Occidental Beach Volleyball Club’s Deanne Neil de Pedro and Eljhay Ronquillo competing for the crown.
The BVR on Tour Santa Ana is sponsored by Smart Sports, Santa Ana LGU, Tuguegarao LGU, Board Member Aj Ponce, Congressman Junjun Nolasco, TikTok Phlippines, EVI Construction, Savepoint Plus, Xentro Mall, Toyota Tuguegarao, Ibuprofen Paracetamol Alaxan FR, and supported by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation.
In the tournament which will be staged under strict health and safety protocols, all members of the BVR delegation have turned negative results in the RT-PCR test three days before entering the bubble and antigen test upon entry.
The games will be streamed live on the Smart Sports Facebook page and YouTube channels. The streaming is global so BVR fans from other countries can watch as well.