Barkada forms community for sport they love
"For beach volleyball, there are a lot of players who want to play pero walang league. So we want to grab that opportunity.” --- Dzi Gervacio
While average barkadas would think of getting up and going to the mall in the middle of a summer day, three girls randomly decided to set up a beach volleyball tournament.
Friends Bea (Tan), Gretchen (Ho) and Dzi (Gervacio) felt hungry to play the sport and saw the lack of its tournaments in the country. They found it quite ironic, too, considering that we already have the facilities to conduct such leagues.
“We have so many beachfronts. Now we have MOA pa. So we thought of tying up with them for a one-day league,” said Dzi. “Hindi katulad ng ibang mga lakad ng magkakaibigang hindi natutuloy.”
The three volleybelles pushed through with their plans and held a competition last June. But instead of the usual format, they added a twist.
“We got ten girls, and then we made them play with and against each other. So you’re not only confined to your partner and it’s not just about winning. Makikilala mo rin yung iba and it’s a way of breaking the clique culture. One of our goals talaga kasi is to create a community of beach volleyball players,” Gervacio shared.
After seeing the success of its first run, the trio thought of hosting another one, this time with former Ateneo teammates Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and Charo Soriano. “It was co-ed already,” explained Fille. “And when we saw that it was good, we felt that we could probably do it regularly. Then we decided to incorporate na. Para mas legit!”
And then the Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) was instituted.
Fille and Dzi were telling me how great of an opportunity it is to play even after graduating from college.
“Dati after college, wala na. Work na, desk job na. But now, like for basketball there are professional leagues already. My dream for volleyball is parang maging PBA level siya. It’s a long way to go but we’re on our way there for indoor (volleyball). For beach naman, there are a lot of players who want to play pero walang league. So we want to grab that opportunity.”
More than that, BVR aims to promote and develop beach volleyball all over the country through three programs – the Beach Royals On Tour Exhibition Tournaments, the Grassroots Academy and the Professional Beach Volleyball Circuit.
Beach Royals was designed for local communities, with the vision of introducing and popularizing the sport. Exhibition games will be held to hopefully make the spectators interested and talking.
Touring is what Fille is most excited for in this new venture. With the help of Alexa Micek and Kayla Tiongco-Williams, the girls have been partnering and organizing events with local government units like Ilocos Sur, Sorsogon and Baler. They’re also looking to visit Cagayan de Oro and Cebu for early next year.
Closely in line with Beach Royals is the Grassroots Academy, which aims to complement and reinforce the former. “Since we’re already in the communities, why not teach? Para we don’t just play. People can also learn from us,” said Dzi. She also shared that this most especially targets the youth and breeding talents while it’s early.
Finally, the Professional Beach Volleyball Circuit is intended to up the level of competition in the Philippines, and to create and have a roster of players that we could probably send abroad.
“Not a lot of people know that it’s an Olympic sport. It’s really high level of competition. So why not develop it, di ba? Maybe someday we can make it there.”
While it seems very challenging to take on this brand new endeavor, the girls shared how circumstances make it a little easier for them to power through. “BVR and our partners have a common vision and a common advocacy, which is wellness through sports development, that we would like to push forward. Logistically, it’s not really difficult to organize events because we have so many beachfronts we could tap. And because you only need two people to form a team, hindi mahirap to send representatives,” said Fille.
More importantly, Dzi added that it’s a big boost that they each have a following already, coming off their collegiate and now with their professional stints.
“I think, in a way, we’ve already established a sense of legitimacy. Parang lumalabas na tama na kami yung gumagawa kasi kami yung naglalaro.”
Beach Volleyball Republic is a community created by athletes, for athletes. Although the corporation is composed of an all Ateneo alumni group, the girls highlighted that the primary goal is to create a family – a family that wants to “nurture and help one another to always strive for excellence”, according to Bea Tan.
BVR already has a series of activities lined up for the coming months. In fact, they will be taking part in Clark’s 20th anniversary this Sunday. “We’re going to build a beach volleyball court in the middle of the runway. Sobrang stress lalo na for logistics, but it’s very exciting and we’re all up for the challenge.”
Gretch, Cha, Bea, Dzi and Fille all have commitments out of volleyball but they’re still giving this project they’re all. They shared that the training they received as student athletes have hopefully prepared them to manage their time and priorities well.
“That’s one of the great things about being a student athlete. It’s character building. We’re trained to handle things. So now, dumarating yung programs. It’s tough but we will make it work.”
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