THE country's best teams on sand in Gilligan's and Foton Tornadoes clash in an ultimate duel to determine the inaugural champion of the PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup 2015 powered by Smart Live More Saturday at the Sands By the Bay in SM Mall of Asia.
Action starts at 3:30 pm with the Gilligan’s pair of Danica Gendrauli and Norie Diaz expected to go all-out against Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain not only to avenge a bitter setback a couple of years ago, but also to bring home the crown in the event organized by Sports Core with Accel as official outfitter, Sands By the Bay as venue partner, Senoh as technical sponsor and Maynilad as official water provider.
Meanwhile, Jade Becaldo and Hachaliah Gilbuena of SM By the Bay A are also expected to renew their rivalry with Tippy Tipgos and Marjun Alingasa of Champion Infinity B when they collide for the men’s division title at 5:30 pm.
Becaldo is a two-time beach volleyball champion from University of the Visayas, while Tipgos served as his main rival from University of San Jose-Recoletos before donning the national colors in several beach volleyball competitions.
Amy's battles Philips Gold in the classification match for seventh place in the women's division at 10 am, Meralco will face Petron XCS for 5th place in the same class at 11 am.
Centerstage on the other hand, collides with Cignal HD Spikers A for third place in the men’s side at 1 pm and Cignal HD Spikers B tangles with Foton Hurricane for the third place in the women's division at 2:30 pm.
Still, all eyes are expected on the Gilligan's-Foton Tornadoes duel which features the battle between the best beach volleyball player from Cebu against her old nemesis from Iloilo.
Gendrauli, who used to rule the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. while playing for Southwestern University, clashed with Ceballos twice in a commercial beach volley tournament in Boracay in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
She lost on both occassions.
“Additional motivation din ‘yun on my part,” said Gendrauli, one of the stalwarts of Mane 'N Tail in the recent PSL All-Filipino Conference. “That's why we're training hard to be super competitive on Saturday.”
Ceballos, on the other hand, claimed Gendrauli and Diaz have the edge in their battle royale.
Ceballos admitted noticing Gendrauli's maturity, leadership, and smart decision-making as Gilligans marched its way to the finals.
That was none more obvious than in the crucial stretch of the team’s semis game against Cignal HD Spikers B where she toyed with the defense of Wensh Tiu and April Ross Hingpit using a deadly combination of long and short-ball place shots.
“Ang laki ng improvement nya,” said Ceballos, a Tourism senior from Central Philippine University who partnered with Jovelyn Gonzaga in crushing Gendrauli and Raphril Aguilar two years ago.
“Kung hindi ka man nya talunin sa lakas ng palo, tatalunin ka naman nya sa utak at diskarte.”
Ceballos, however, claimed whoever has the heart, desire, and hunger, will be the last team standing.
“Tingnan na lang po natin,” Ceballos said. “Basta handa kami sa kung ano man ang ibibigay nila.”