PHILIPPINE beach volleyball teams are vying for Olympic spots in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Continental Cup from June 20 to 27 in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
The men’s and women’s beach volleyball squads will both play in the semifinal round of the Olympic Qualifier after both won bronze medals in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Only the champion of each division will advance to the Tokyo Olympics.
Host country Thailand and Indonesia are automatically seeded berths in the Final round of the Continental Cup after finishing as top two teams in the previous SEA Games in both divisions.
“The reason we were able to qualify to the AVC Continental Cup because both of our teams won bronze medals in the last SEA Games,” said National Teams Commission head Tony Boy Liao. “They automatically will play in the semifinal round. There are five zones in Asia, so meaning to say bawat zone nagkaroon ng kanya-kanyang competition. So ngayon, 'yung mga nag-second places doon sa bawat zone will compete sa semis.”
The beach volleyball national pool is set to start its bubble training in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte next week.
Women’s beach volleyball head coach Paul Jan Doloiras and Rhovyl Verayo will select the best two teams who will represent the country from their respective 10-member pools.
Bronze medalists Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons and the pair of Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez bannered the women’s pool that also includes UAAP champion Babylove Barbon, Gen Eslapor and Mer Jauculan from University of Santo Tomas and Philippine Superliga beach volleyball titlist Alexa Polidario, and Erjane Magdato as well as fellow Negrense Jennifer Cosas.
Ranran Abdilla, who was part of Philippine men’s volleyball team’s silver medal run in the SEA Games, takes on a new path at the sands court with bronze medalists Jude Garcia, Jaron Requinton and James Buytrago as well as other pool members Anthony Arbasto, Philip Bagalay, Jade Becaldo, Calvin Sarte, James Pecaña, and AJ Pareja.
It’s a tall mountain to scale for both beach volleyball teams with the women’s side slated against the likes Japan, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka, while the men’s squad is set to face Australia, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Lebanon to advance to the next round.
For both coaches, they are eager to bring the best out of their teams despite coming off one year of inactivity due to the pandemic.
But regardless of the result, playing in the Continental Cup is a great jumpstart to their golden quest in the SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam this November.
“Ang expectations namin maitaas pa yung medal ng bronze last SEA Games. Andyan naman na lahat ng magagaling na players. We’ll try our best,” said. men’s coach Verayo.
Doloiras, the women’s head coach, agreed: “Tuloy tuloy lang pipilitin abutin yung silver and gold. Nakita na namin yung labanan. Yung bubble namin magiging intense and mahirap para makuha namin yung goal.”
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