Unheralded pair of Jusabelle Brillo, Jem Gutierrez hope to outshine rivals as Super Liga beach enters quarterfinals

JUSABELLE Brillo and Jem Gutierrez hope to outshine their rivals as the Philippine Super Liga beach volleyball quarterfinals get going on Saturday at Sands By the Bay in SM Mall of Asia.

The unheralded pair suiting up for Meralco crushed Benguet Electric Cooperative’s Cindy Benitez and Florence May Madulid and reached the round of eight despite a three-set loss to Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain of Foton Tornadoes.

Meralco will be facing another tough pair in Cignal HD Spikers Wensh Tiu and April Ross Hingpit in the quarterfinals, but Brillo is unfazed.

“Ang beach volleyball, hindi po yan puro lang height, skills o experience. Dapat may tiwala din po sa isa't isa,” said Brillo, a veteran of the past two editions of the Asian Beach Games in Bali and Phuket.

“Kahit natalo po kami sa Foton dahil malakas ang hangin at medyo bumabagyo, hindi na po namin iniisip yun. Ang importante ay magtiwala lang kami sa isa't isa. Kasi kung magiging solid po kami, kahit sino pa man ang makalaban namin, makakaya naming talunin.”

Brillo and Gutierrez were not listed together in the first lineup. Brillo was supposed to team up with Cherry Rondina of University of Santo Tomas, while another spiker was being considered to play with the 19-year-old Gutierrez.

But the two ended up together just days before the opener, giving them very little time to prepare for the tournament organized by Sports Core with Accel as official outfitter, Sands By the Bay as venue partner and Maynilad as official water provider. Matches are aired live over TV 5.

"Hindi kami katulad ng ibang teams na ilang buwan nang magkakasama," said Gutierrez, a Behavioral Science student from from UST.

"Pero hindi man kami masyadong pamilyar sa isa't isa sa loob ng court, very patient naman si ate sa pag-guide sa akin. Nagtitiwala sya sa akin at binibigyan ako ng pointers para mas lalo pang mag-improve sa loob ng court."

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