THE teammates of former multi-titled La Salle-Dasmarinas spiker Jennifer Manzano are getting ready to step up in her absence when the 2013 Petron Ladies' Beach Volleyball Battle of Champions reels off on Thursday at the De La Salle-Health Science Institute in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
Two pairs, led by the team of Iumi Yongco and Mara Galicia, and the duo of Iari Yongco and Maribeth Lara, will be among the 10 teams fighting for the top honors in this two-day spikefest supported by Mikasa, Molten Balls, and Erase Exfoliant.
All La Salle players are dedicating their games to their coach Darwin Campana, who passed away last Sunday due to cancer.
“Siya po ang magiging inspiration namin para mag-champion,“ said Iumi, the younger sister of Iari during Tuesday’s weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
Manzano, who won the crown last year with Cindy Benitez, has been busy of late and will not be around to defend her crown.
Third leg winner Samantha Dawson and Bernadette Pons of Far Eastern University are also not around, while first leg titlist Giselle Bembo was replaced by Iari.
But perennial contender Pangasinan’s Cassandra Lleda and Melanie Carrera will be there to spice up action in the two-day event.
The other pairs are Letran 1’s Monique Pablo and Queenie Mondejar, Letran 2’s Patricia Belleza and Jan Carreon, University of the East 1’s Madel Gavarra and Chelho Ramos, University of the East 2’s Shaya Adorador and Pia Sarmiento.
San Beda 1’s Debbie Dultra and Mona Diolazo will make their presence felt with San Beda 2’s Janine Marciano and Frances Molina, along with University of the Philippines’ Liezchel Tiu and Pau Genido.
“The game played in beach volleyball is the masteral level of the sport. Players are more matured here. So, we expect good games to be played,” said organizer Tisha Abundo in the session presented by Shakey’s and the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation.