Petron’s Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons withstood a gallant second set stand by Perlas’ Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez, to fashion out a 21-13, 21-19 win and rule the women’s division of the Beach Volleyball Republic On Tour Gran Ola, Lianga leg Sunday in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
American David McKienzie capped a successful return from a one-year hiatus, joining forces with Malaysian Raja Riazmi to turn back Tigers KR Guzman and Krung Arbasto, 21-12, 21-19, to capture the men’s title.
“It was always fun to play,” said McKienzie, a 2012 London Olympian, who was more than glad to share his talents to Filipino sand court players.
Proving themselves as the country’s best in the sand court, Rondina was at her usual best in her attacks and defense, while Pons produced several brilliant smart plays.
McKienzie has good words for Rondina, a four-time UAAP beach volleyball champion who bagged her first BVR title since combining with Babylove Barbon for the Manila Open diadem last year.
“She is strong,” said McKienzie on the Compostela, Cebu native.
Rondina and Pons swept all of the six matches, but they were tested by Gervacio and Rodriguez in the biggest stage, played under rainy conditions that pushed both pairs’ abilities to the limit.
Tied at 7-7 in the second frame, Rondina and Pons pulled away and moved closer to championship point, 20-15.
Gervacio and Rodriguez then saved four match points to cut the deficit to one. Fortunately, Rondina and Pons dodged the bullet after Rodriguez’s hit went outside.
Rondina and Pons made quick work of University of Santo Tomas 2’s Derie Virtusio and Mer Jauculan, 21-8, 21-7, to clinch a spot in the Finals. They will face Gervacio and Rodriguez, who withstood a gallant stand from UST 1’s Barbon and Gen Eslapor, 21-18, 19-21, 15-12.
Barbon and Eslapor, bracing for the UAAP Season 82 wars this month, bested Virtusio and Jauculan, 21-12, 21-15, to capture third place.
McKienzie and Riazmi downed Davao’s Calvin Sarte and Edmar Flores, 21-18, 21-13, to force a men’s finals duel with Guzman and Arbasto. The latter were the 22-20, 21-12 winner over Far Eastern University 1’s Jude Garcia and Doy Barrica in the other semifinal.
Sarte and Flores outlasted Garcia and Barrica, 21-18, 21-12, 15-8, to clinch the bronze.
Rondina and Pons won all of their Pool A matches, while Gervacio and Rodriguez also went 4-0 in Pool B. The pairs of Virtusio and Jauculan, and Barbon and Eslapor finished second in their respective brackets with identical 3-1 cards.
Rondina and Pons bested MJ Ebro and Tricia Yap, 21-6, 21-7, to cap their pool play campaign in a smashing fashion. Meanwhile, Gervacio and Rodriguez topped Vertusio and Jauculan, 21-10, 21-14, to complete a perfect round.
In the men’s quarterfinals, Tigers KR Guzman and Krung Arbasto nipped UST 2’s Menchel Remulta and Rancel Varga, 21-18, 16-21, 21-19; Mafar-Davao’s Calvin Sarte and Edmar Flores outlasted UST 1’s Jaron Requinton and Efraem Dimaculangan, 16-21, 22-20, 15-11; and Jude Garcia and Doy Barrica beat James Buytrago and James Natividad, 21-13, 13-21, 15-11 to make it to the semis.