BORACAY – The Philippines' Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor look to get through the qualifying rounds of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open on Thursday.
The young standouts from the University of Santo Tomas beach volleyball program are hoping to join four other Filipina pairs in Friday's main competition.
Qualification matches start at 7:30 a.m.
Already in the main draw of the four-day tournament organized by the Beach Volleyball Republic are Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons, Dij Rodriguez and Bea Tan, Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontaño, and the tandem of Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain.
Barbon, who paired with Rondina in the Tigresses' three-peat conquest in the UAAP last September, and Eslapor are among the seven women's pairs vying for slots in tomorrow's main draw. They will face Gerda Grudzinskaite and Karole Virbickaite of Lithuania in the afternoon session at 2 p.m.
Barbon and Eslapon emerged victorious in the BVR on Tour Dumaguete Open last month.
"The goal of the BVR national tour is to give our local players an opportunity to increase their competition level to the international level," said BVR co-founder and tournament director Charo Soriano.
Air Force's Ranran Abdilla and Jesse Lopez will spearhead the country's campaign in the men's division, which also includes collegiate standouts James Buytrago and Krung Arbasto, and the Cebu pair of Mike Abria and Jade Becaldo.
"Teams have been training for this and we've been helping them through the BVR tours we've been holding," said Soriano.
The US$10,000 (around P520,000) Boracay Open, a one-star event is the 24th men’s and 23rd women’s event for the 2018-19 FIVB World Tour. The Beach World Tour returns to the Philippines for the second time following a double-gender one-star event in Manila last year.
The women’s and men’s main draw is set tomorrow, while the Round of 12, and quarterfinal matches is scheduled on Saturday. The semifinals and the medal matches will be played on Sunday.
The winning women's and men's teams will receive US$1,000 and qualifying points for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Finals.