SUBIC, Zambales — Four years ago, Dzi Gervacio could only imagine the Philippines winning a medal in a major international beach volleyball tournament.
On Friday, under the hot scorching sun, the Philippine team composed of Sisi Rondina, Bernadeth Pons, Dij Rodriguez, and Gervacio captured the bronze medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games beach volleyball tournament at the converted Subic Tennis Court.
“That was the goal talaga ever since, kasi sabi namin na ang volleyball malaki ang chance natin na makatungtong sa podium,” said Gervacio, who along with Charo Soriano and Bea Tan started the Beach Volleyball Republic.
Powerhouse Thailand, however, was too much for the Pinay spikers, sweeping the home team.
The Philippines ended the tournament on a high note as Rondina and Pons swept Serene Ng and Ee Shan Lau, 21-17, 21-13, while Gervacio and Rodriguez bested Eliza Chong and Gladys Lee, 21-18, 21-16.
“Ito na ‘yung biggest beach volleyball stage na natungtungan ng team natin and sobrang nakakatuwa, nakakataba ng puso na nakikipagsabayan,” said Gervacio.
After the match, the Pinay spikers went to their fans, who trooped to the venue, and thanked them one by one as they took selfies to remember the historic moment.
“Nakakahumble din na maisip na hindi lang sila galing sa bahay, ‘yung iba galing pa ng Cebu. May mga nagti-tweet pa na sending their best wishes to the team so at least alam nila we exist na may beach volleyball na kasali sa SEA Games,” said Gervacio.
“Sobrang salamat kasi noong una nalaman namin na Subic, ‘hala may manonood ba sa amin’ pero salamat sa lahat ng tumutok via online and especially sa mga pumunta dito,” she added. “Pinakita lang na ang Pilipino nandyan sa biggest stage, nandyan ang lahat sumusuporta.”
The last time the Philippines won a medal in beach volleyball was in 2005 edition of the biennial meet in Manila courtesy of Heidi Ilustre and Diane Pascua.
Meanwhile, the Philippines men's team made history by winning the country's first SEA Games medal in beach volleyball.