PARAGUAY’S Michelle Amarilla and Erika Bobadilla, and the young Dutch pair of Katja Stam and Julia Wouters head the cast in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open this week at the Sands SM By The Bay.
The Netherlands pair lost to Russia in the women’s gold medal match in Langkawi, Malaysia on Sunday and will look to make it all the way to the top this time.
The highly-touted Paraguayans, meanwhile, hope to bounce back in Manila after failing to make it to the semifinals in Langkawi, Malaysia last Sunday.
Sixteen pairs teams are participating in the women’s side of the event organized by Beach Volleyball Republic Inc.
Japan’s Ayumi Kusano, who with Akiko Hasegawa won the Spike for Peace beach volleyball crown in 2015 at the Philsports Arena, will play with Takemi Nishibori.
Lindsey Fuller, the 2014 NVL Most Improved Player, plays with Kaley Melville for the US team.
In the men's division, Austria’s Simon Fruhbauer and Jorg Wutzl, who earned their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal at the Malaysia Open last Sunday at the expense Russia’s Petr Bakhnar and Taras Myskiv, will be the tandem to watch out.
The Austrian pair has been playing together since 2016.
Silver medalists Bakhnar and Myskiv will also play in Manila along with Germany's Paul Becker and Eric Stadie, who lost to Thailand's I. Nuttanon and P. Sedtawat in the bronze medal match in Langkawi Open last weekend.
The Philippines has entered four women's pairs in the main draw, with sand court veteran Dzi Gervacio and University of Sto. Tomas’ Sisi Rondina leading the charge.
Other Filipinas competing are Charo Soriano and Bea Tan, two-time BVR national champions Karen Quilario and Lot Catubag, and wildcard entries DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia.
BVR national champions Jade Becaldo and Calvin Sarte and Kevin Juban and Raphy Abanto complete the men's cast.
The competition will commence with the men's division qualifiers on Thursday and before moving into the main draw for women and men on Friday. The round of 12 and the quarterfinals are scheduled on Saturday with the semifinals and finals on Sunday.