LINGAYEN — Identical twins Nieza and Jeziela Viray made the long trip from Dumaguete worth their while in the ongoing second leg of the 2013 Petron Ladies' Beach Volleyball tournament.
Arriving from a two-day journey following a weeklong stint in the Palarong Pambansa, the 14-year-old pair from Pangasinan School of Arts and Trade shrugged off an opening-game loss before repulsing older rivals in their next four games.
Lacking sleep after arriving home in the wee hours of the morning Tuesday, they gamely bounced back from a 10-21 setback to eventual semifinalists University of the East’s Leuseth Dawis and Pia Sarmiento with four consecutive wins and advanced to the semifinal round.
The twins will face veteran Pangasinense spikers Melanie Carrera and Cassandra Lleda, who swept their five-game assignment in Group A and made it to the semis with Far Eastern University standouts Maritoni Basas and Fil-Australian Samantha Dawson, and the unbeaten pair of UE's Dawis and Sarmiento.
The two-day event was held as part of the province’s annual celebration of the Pistay Dayat 2013, a thanksgiving festivity observed annually in Lingayen to celebrate the province’s bountiful harvest and abundant fishing.
Quickly learning from mistakes they made in their only setback, the twins used openhanded overhead spikes in repulsing their next four opponents to claim the second semifinals slot in Group B.
“Nag-adjust kami sa service at sa tossing namin. Nilakasan namin dahil sa hangin. Papuntang north kasi ang hangin. Tapos, iyung tossing, hindi dapat dikit ang fingers kapag sa beach volleyball ang laro. Kaya nahirapan kami sa first game,” said the outspoken Nieza, whose family is from Pangapisan Sur.
They made the semis after coming up with a 21-15 win over La Salle-Dasmarinas bets Bea Canillas and Mariel Desengano.
The incoming high school sophomores, who played for the indoor team of Region 1’s secondary girls' volleyball squad in the Palaro, then proceeded with a 21-10 stopping of University of Luzon’s Marjorie Magistrado.
The Virays then eked out a 21-15 win over Rizal Technological University’s Priscilla Catacutan and Lhynbel Losario, before pulling off a 21-11 verdict over Stanza National High School’s Maristella Santiago and Arcelyn Viray.