REIGNING champion Petron XCS and powerhouse Generika-Ayala A are out to book a semifinal duel when they tangle with separate foes in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup on Saturday at Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia.
Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron XCS will clash with the tandem of Jonah Sabete and Bianca Lizares of Sta. Lucia Realty B at 3 p.m. while Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain of Generika-Ayala A lock horns with Jeziela and Nieza Viray of Foton at 4:30 p.m.
Also shooting for semifinal slots are Michelle Morente and Fritz Gallenero of F2 Logistics, which will face Mylene Paat and Rap Aguilar of Cignal A at 11 a.m., and Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackie Estoquia of Sta. Lucia Realty A, which will tangle with Cherry Vivas and Janine Navarro of Cignal B, at 10 a.m.
In men’s play, Sands By the Bay battles Smart at 8 a.m. while Cignal clashes with Foton at 9 a.m. in a bid to book a slot to the finals on Sunday.
But all eyes will be on Petron and Generika-Ayala A.
After a thrilling opening-day battle, the Blaze Spikers and the Lifesavers are tipped to clash anew in the semifinals after landing on the same bracket in Pool A.
Rondina, who had some difficulty launching her attacks in their first two matches, appeared to have already regained the deadly form she showed when she represented the country in the Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championship last year and the FIVB World Tour earlier this month.
“We have to adjust so we can display the same performance we had before,” said Rondina shortly after sweeping Pool A.
The Lifesavers are also looking to post a massive win in the prestigious summer spectacle bankrolled by PLDT, Sunsilk, Isuzu, Senoh, Mikasa, Maynilad, Petron, SM Malls, Generika Drugstore and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 and Hyper as broadcast partners.
Despite suffering some turbulence in their first match against Rondina and Pons, 21-19, 21-14, 15-8, the pair of Ceballos and Orendain stormed back with a 21-7, 21-18 victory over Danika Gendrauli and Nerissa Bautista of Cocolife A.
That victory over the seasoned pair served as a major morale booster as they face the Viray twins, the reigning champions in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, in the quarterfinals.
“Now we’re slowly getting used to playing on the sand,” said Ceballos. “This is now the knockout stage and we will do everything to make it back to the finals.”