SISI Rondina and Dzi Gervacio defeated Americans Lindsey Fuller and Kaley Melville, 21-12, 21-16, to open their campaign in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open on a high note on Friday.
The Filipina tandem, who only had two weeks of practice, relied on smart plays to cut down their taller and more experienced foes under the scorching hot sun at the Sands SM By The Bay.
University of Santo Tomas spit fire Rondina, who has three UAAP beach volleyball titles under her belt, admitted that she was never intimidated by their opponents.
"Nilaro lang namin, ako, honestly, hindi ako sila pinuri na, 'Uy ang lalaki nila, ang tatangkad nila.’” she said.
“Parang sino-showcase ko na lang kung ano ang kaya kong gawin, na kayang ipagmalaki ng mga Pilipinong nanonood sa amin," she added.
Her fighting heart was bigger than anyone as Rondina, who partnered with Bernadeth Pons in the 29th Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in Singapore, showed what she can do.
The Pinays saw a 13-8 lead in the first set cut down to 11-15 by their American rivals, but Rondina and Gervacio regained control in time to wrap up the set.
Fuller and Melville started strongly in the second set but Rondina and Gervacio reasserted their supremacy to take a commanding 17-10 lead.
Rondina and Gervacio are not yet done for the day as they will face Spanish duo Paula Soria Guttierez and Maria Belen Caro, who demolished South Africa's Simone Sittig and Luciana Pierangeli, 21-8, 21-9, in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Pinay wildcard entries DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia proved no match to the top-seeded duo of Paraguay's Michelle Amarilla and Erika Bobadilla, 19-21, 13-21.
Beach Volleyball Republic founders Charo Soriano and Bea Tan lost to Japanese tandem of Ayumi Kusano and Takemi Nishibori, 10-21, 9-21, while the two-time BVR national champions Karen Quilario and Lot Catubag bowed to Malaysia Open silver medalists Katja Stamand Julia Wouters of the Netherlands, 14-21, 11-21.