PH beach volley spikers seek Olympic berths in AVC Cup-Thailand
CEBU CITY, Philippines— The Philippine men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams will be going up against dangerous opponents in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Continental Cup from June 18-19, 2021, in Nakhon Pathom province in Thailand.
The team flew to Thailand last Sunday to compete in the Olympic qualifying tournament that will grant two slots, one each in the men’s and women’s divisions.
The women’s team A of Cebuana Cherry Ann Rondina and partner Bernadeth Pons will be going up against New Zealand’s Francesca Kirwan and Olivia Macdonald in their first match.
The Philippines’ team B of Floremel Rodriguez and Baby Love Barbon will also face New Zealand’s second pair of Alice Zeimann and Shauna Marie Polley.
Rondina, a veteran of the 2014 Continental Cup, along with Pons and Rodriguez clinched a bronze medal in the 2019 SEA Games. Dzi Gervacio was part of that team but won’t be going to Thailand because of a left knee injury.
Meanwhile, the men’s division pair of Jaron Requinton and James Buytrago will kick off their campaign against Lebanon’s Jean Abi Hedid and Joe El Azzi.
The same pair of Lebanese players will also play against Philippine team B’s Jude Garcia and Anthony Lemuel Arbasto.
This will be the first test of the newly established Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) after it was formed just January, this year. Also, it will be the national team’s first international tournament since the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).
“We are hoping for a strong finish for our men and women beach volleyball teams in this Olympic qualifier,” PNVF President Ramon “Tats” Suzara said in a press release. “Our athletes are adequately prepared for the competition, having set up a training camp in (Saud Beach) Pagudpud (Ilocos Norte) since last month.”
Mer Jauculan and Gen Eslapor are the women’s team reserves while Ranran Abdilla and Philip Bagalay are the men’s team backups.
The PNVF thanked the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for the training and participation of the team in the tournament.
The teams will be accompanied by national coaches Paul Jan Doloiras (women) and Rhovyl Verayo (men) and PNVF board member and Beach Volleyball Commission chairperson Charo Soriano /rcg
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