High hopes for Philippine beach spikers in 2019 SEA Games
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 26, 2019 03:42 PM
Sand court superstars Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons in the first day of action 2019 Rebisco Beach Volleyball International Open at the Sands SM By The Bay. (Photo: BVR )
Not only will the Philippines vie for a podium finish in the 30th Southeast Asian Games beach volleyball competition, but it will also try to gain a spot in next year's AVC Continental Cup Finals.
The Rebisco-backed women's and men's squads have been training doubly hard twice a day for the tournament which begins on Friday at Subic Tennis Court.
"The Philippine beach volleyball teams have been staying in Subic since last Friday, training and preparing hard for the games," said team manager Charo Soriano, who is also the Beach Volleyball Republic founder.
"We are fortunate to be able to be at the venue early and we are scheduling training both in the morning and in the evening so the athletes can get used to the sand and lighting conditions," she added.
The pairs of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons and Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez will lead the women's campaign, while Edmar Bonono and Jude Garcia, and Jaron Requinton and James Buytrago will banner the men's side.
The teams had a good warm-up via the recently-concluded 2019 Rebisco Beach Volleyball International Open at Sands SM By The Bay, boosting the country's preparations for the SEA Games.
"Everybody is excited. The coaching staff, management staff and the players. We have been waiting this opportunity to bring pride to our nation. And we will make sure to give our all," said Soriano.
The Philippines last won a medal in 2005 courtesy of the Fil-Am pair of Heidi Ilustre and Diane Pascua. Also, the beach volleyball event is back in the SEA Games after a eight-year absence.
The stakes are higher, as the biennial games will also serve as the Southeast Asian Zonal qualifier to the AVC Continental Cup.
After completion of the event on Dec. 6, the gold medalist in each division will advance to the third phase of the AVC Continental Cup (Finals) in June, while the silver medalist will qualify to the second phase (semi-finals) early next year. The Continental Cup champion then will book a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Despite all the tremendous odds, the Philippines is ready to bring its A-game against the best sand court players in the region.
For more updates about the Philippine beach volleyball team, please check its social media accounts @pilipinasbeachvolleyball on Instagram and Facebook, and @phbeachvolley on Twitter.