PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN – Nine teams from six nations see action in beach water polo event as the 2nd Pilipinas International Beach Sports Festival kicks off Sunday at the Baywalk Park here.
Four teams led by defending champion Philippine-Turbo, will represent the country that also includes Surehots Sportsville, Philippine-Envirotech, and Puerto Princesa, the local squad backed by City Mayor Luis Marcaida III.
Also seeing action in the men’s division of the three-day tournament organized by Optimum Sports and backed by AirAsia are teams from China, Guam, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, and the USA.
“This is a very good opportunity for us to enter in to this partnership because we want to improve the sports tourism of Puerto Princesa City. We’re excited to host this event, and this is just a start,” said Marcaida.
Philippine-Turbo, which won last year in Anvaya, overhauled its roster as it now include Maui Valdez, Mico Anota, Paolo Serrano and Aljon Salonga – all members of the national team.
However, expected to give them a tough fight is Sureshots, which won the initial Beach Water Polo Championship in 2015 and now has former national team players in Roy Canete, Tani Gomez, Frazer Alamara, Ricardo Dilap-Dilap and Dale Evangalista.
“It’s a reunion of sorts for us, because we were with the national team that won a silver medal during the 2005 Philippine Southeast Asian Games,” said Evangelista, also the president of Optimum Sports.
Sureshots also has Malaysian Dowson Kee Mando as reinforcement, while Philippine-Envirotech has Abnel Amilajib, Matthew Yu, Mummar Alamara, Adan Gonzales and Mcgyver Reyes.
Bannering Puerto Princesa is national team member Romark Belo.
In the women’s side, the Philippine Sirens of Bea Garrido, Danyca Evangelista, and Jobelyn Ocampo, who all competed in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, will battle Hong Kong and Uzbekistan.
Aside from beach water polo, the sports festival will also have a 10-kilometer marathon swimming competition, with SEA Games-bound Courtney Gray and Erica Lukang,
There are also 5k, 2.5k, and 500-meter events for kids.
The event is also supported by Turbo PH, A Game, Sureshot Sportsville, Envirotech, Promatrix, GU Energy Gels, Prima Deportes Co, Gardenia, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Aquatic Sports Association, and the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI).