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Tiebreaker Times

Beach Volleyball

UST’s Pagara-Progella leads BVR Sipalay semis cast

Reigning UAAP champion University of Santo Tomas, led by Sofiah Pagara and Khy Progella, upended National University’s Honey Grace Cordero and Kat Epa, 16-21, 21-15, 15-9, in the Beach Volleyball Republic on Tour Sipalay City leg on Saturday at the Poblacion Beach in Sipalay City.

Playing with a sense of urgency to avoid a tough semifinal path, Pagara and Progella executed a cool and calculated strategy on offense and defense, securing the Tiger Sands’ second straight victory in an intense battle between the UAAP’s most successful programs.

After dropping the first set, Pagara and Progella displayed tremendous composure in the next two sets against the Lady Bulldogs pair of Cordero, who won here last year with Roma Joy Doromal, and Epa.

UST opened its campaign with a 21-16, 21-7 sweep over Negros’ Bea Tan and Bianca Lizares.

National team mainstay Ranran Abdilla, who triumphed in this laid-back city with Rancel Varga last year, and AJ Pareja lost the first set before the Alas A pair won the next two to beat Cebu’s Samlet Booc and Micael Marabe, 26-28, 21-17, 15-0.

Abdilla and Pareja later logged their second straight win at the expense of Andre Espejo and Cris Hernandez, 21-19, 21-19, ending La Salle’s two-match winning streak to reach the semifinal.

Pontevedra also advanced to the women’s semis as Erjane Magdato and Perper Cosas defeated Far Eastern University’s Melody Pons and Floriza Anne Papa, 21-15, 21-13, and Strong Group Athletics’ Gen Eslapor and Euri Eslapor, 21-10, 21-11.

The New South Wales Phoenix pair of Jett Rocker-Graham and Killian Donovan, who finished fourth in last month’s Asian U19 Beach Volleyball Championships in Roi-Et, Thailand, also qualified for the top four in the men’s division.

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The Aussies defeated the Alas B tandem of Varga and Lerrie Francisco, 21-18, 21-16, and UST’s Aldwin Gupiteo and Dominique Gabito, 21-18, 21-18.

Action resumes Sunday morning to determine the remaining semifinalists in the women’s and men’s divisions.

In a couple of do-or-die women’s matches, FEU (1-1) will take on SGA (1-1), while NU (2-1) plays UNO-R (2-1).

In the men’s side, La Salle and Cebu, both sporting 2-1 records, will try to avoid elimination, while Alas B and UST, both holding 1-1 records, will compete for a place in the semifinal.

The semifinal and the medal matches will be played in the afternoon.

The BVR on Tour Sipalay leg was made possible in partnership with the City Government of Sipalay under Mayor Maria Gina M. Lizares, aiming to promote sports among the youth and boost the local tourism industry.

The BVR remains committed to promoting a beach volleyball lifestyle in the Philippines by providing a platform for athletes to train, develop their skills, build a community, and compete in high-level tournaments nationwide.

In addition to the matches, there will be the BVR Sandroots program at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

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