SISI Rondina and Bernadeth Pons are leading the Philippine women’s beach volleyball team, while the reigning Southeast Asian Games bronze medalists are headlining the men’s squad in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Continental Cup Semifinal round on June 18 and 19 in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
AVC on Friday announced the composition of teams fighting for two Tokyo Olympic berths in this upcoming bubble beach volleyball tournament.
The multi-awarded tandem of Rondina and Pons spearheads the return of Philippine volleyball in international competition after a year long inactivity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Joining ‘SiPons’ duo are SEA Games bronze medalist Dij Rodriguez paired with Baby Love Barbon of University of Santo Tomas for Team 2, while the reserves are Merry Rose Jauculan and Jane Eslapor in case there will be COVID-19 positive or injuries for the squad of head coach Paul Jan Doloiras.
The Philippines is slated against Japan’s Team 1 Akiko Hasegawa and Azusa Futami and Team 2 Chiyo Suzuki and Yurika Sakaguchi; New Zealand’s Francesca Kirwan and Olivia McDonald as well as Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Marie Polley; and Sri Lanka, which has yet to show its roster, in the semi-final round.
Two teams will advance in the Final round from June 25 and 27 against reigning champion Australia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Vanuatu.
In the men’s division, the SEA Games bronze medalist pair of Jaron Requinton and James Buytrago and fellow winner Jude Garcia, teaming up with new partner Anthony Arbasto, hope to snatch the lone Final berth in this tournament.
Ranran Abdilla and Philip Michael Bagalay were listed as reserves for head coach Rhovyl Verayo and will join the Philippine delegation, which is set to fly to Thailand on Sunday.
The Philippine men’s beach volleyball team battle Australia’s Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann and Maximilian Guehrer and Zachery Schubert; Japan’s Yoshiumi Hasegawa and Takumi Takahashi and Kensuke Shoji and Masato Kurasaka; Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Yakovlev and Sergey Bogatu and Alexey Sidorenko and Kirill Gurin; and Lebanon’s Jean Abi Chedid and Joe El Azzi and Paul Bou Akl and Salba Chafic.
The lone survivor of the tourney will join China, Indonesia, Iran, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar and Thailand in the Final Round.
The men’s and women’s beach volleyball pools, formed by Philippine National Volleyball Federation, just accomplished their two-week bubble training camp in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte on Thursday for the Olympic qualifier.
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