ACTION heats up as the main tournament of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open presented by Globe gets going on Friday.
Four Filipina pairs compete against some of the best international beach volleyball players in the 1-star event organized by the Beach Volleyball Republic.
Old partners Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons see action along with Dij Rodriguez and Bea Tan, Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontaño, and the tandem of Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain.
Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor fell short in their bid to join the four teams, bowing to Gerda Grudzinskaite and Karole Virbickaite of Lithuania, 17-21, 14-21, in Thursday's qualifiers.
"Sa ligang ito, nandito na yung mas mga beterana, malalaki. Still, makakakuha din kami dito ng experience at may matutunan kami in this league at sa mga upcoming games namin," said Rondina.
"Nakaka-excite kasi first time ko din ito na makalaro sa FIVB (World Tour). Siyempre, ini-expect kami ng mga tao na gagawin namin yung best namin in every game. Kasi siyempre, hindi lang basta-basta maglalaro kami dito. May goal din naman kami," added Pons.
Barbon, meanwhile, is happy despite missing the main draw.
"First time namin pero sayang din kasi hindi maganda yung kinalabasan. Pero okay na rin sa amin, experience ito para sa amin. Yung height po nila, hanggang balikat lang po kami," said Barbon.
Satono Ishitsubo and Asami Shiba, gold medal winners in the 1-Star Manavgat Open in Turkey last June 2018, will banner Japan's campaign, along with Sakurako Fujii and Minori Kumada, and Shinako Tanaka and Miyuki Matsumura.
Thailand had the young pair of Thatsarida Singchuea and Pawarun Chanthawichai, champions in the SMM Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships last March in Roi Et, Thailand.
Air Force's Ranran Abdilla and Jesse Lopez will spearhead the Philippine campaign in the men's division, which also includes collegiate standouts James Buytrago and Krung Arbasto, and Cebu's Mike Abria and Jade Becaldo.
Russia's Maxim Sivolap and Artem Yarzutkin, who won the gold in the Kg Speu 1-Star tournament in Cambodia to go with a silver in the Siem Reap 2-star in Thailand last month, leads the men's main draw which also has SMM Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships gold medalists Phichakon Narathon and Phanupong Thanan of Thailand.
The Round of 12 and quarterfinal matches are scheduled on Saturday, with the semifinals and medal matches to be played on Sunday.