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Beach Volleyball

SiPons go down to 0-2, Rodriguez-Eslapor gain win no. 1 in AVC Beach Volley

Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons absorbed two contrasting defeats while Dij Rodriguez and Genesa Eslapor arrested their skid in the 2021 Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships, Wednesday at the Bang Tao Beach in Phuket, Thailand.

The 2019 Southeast Asian Games bronze medalists Rondina and Pons zoomed into the first-set win, but eventually suffered a heartbreaking three-set loss to Shiba Asami and Nishibori Takemi, 21-13, 20-22, 12-15, during the morning session.

It was a close affair at 8-all in the third and deciding set, but errors from both Rondina and Pons saw them dig an 8-13 hole. From there, the Shiba/Take tandem never looked back and scraped through with the win.

The SiPons duo raced to an early 9-3 lead after a down-the-line hit from Pons. A second-ball hit from Rondina then pushed it to a commanding 17-11 advantage, which they eventually converted into the set win.

Japan turned it around in the second, but the Filipinos had a chance to snag the set and the match after back-to-back hits from Rondina and an attack error from Shiba put it at 20-all. However, Shiba made amends in the following rally to take the setpoint, before a missed hit from Pons ended the set and instead forced the decider.

The defeat was a crucial one in terms of positioning as a subsequent loss also later in the day saw the Filipinos in a share of the third spot with Alisha Stevens and Jana Milutovinic.

It was because Rondina and Pons also lost their second match of the day against Thailand’s Taravadee Naraphornrapat and Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee — this time in two sets — 9-21, 14-21.

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Meanwhile, Rodriguez and Eslapor finally got their first win of the tournament and averted a winless campaign, with a victory over Sri Lanka’s Deepika Bandara and Manis Hawage Hashina Malsha Priyamali, 22-20, 21-12.

Both sides will try to end the eliminations on a winning note as they take on their last opponents of the pool rounds.

Rodriguez-Eslapor will take on the more favored Kazakhstan duo of Alina Rachenko and Anastassiya Ukolova at 8 a.m. (9 p.m., PH time) on court 4. On the other hand, SiPons will battle Australia’s Stevens and Milutovinic at the same court afterwards at 8:50 a.m. (9:50 a.m.).

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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