IT’S going to be an unpredictable battle among 12 teams vying for pride, honor, and prestige in the PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup 2015 powered by Smart Live More, which kicks off next week at the Sands By the Bay in SM Mall of Asia.
PSL president Ramon "Tats" Suzara said all 12 participants in the women's division will be divided into four groups where they will determine their ranking in the pool play starting on July 18.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the crossover quarterfinals with the winners moving to the semifinals of the first club beach volley league in the country organized by Sports Core and to be aired live over TV5 with Accel as official outfitter, Sands by the Bay as venue partner, and Maynilad as official water provider.
The survivors of the knockout semis will engage in a winner-take-all duel on August 8.
"Under this format, we expect that only the best team will survive," said Suzara, who will preside over the drawing of lots, general technical meeting, and press conference set Thursday.
"We have a very balanced field. We really can't predict who will emerge as the inaugural champion as all teams are serious in their respective preparations. This is going to be an exciting battle, not only for the teams, but for the fans as well."
A pair of charming players in part-time model Gretchen Ho and Frances Molina will banner Petron XCS, while Filipino-American sensation Alexa Micek and Fille Cayetano will carry the colors of Petron Sprint 4T.
Not to be outdone, Cignal A will parade the lovely Cha Cruz and beach volley veteran Micmic Laborte, while Cignal B will be represented by another beauty in Wensh Tiu of La Salle and April Rose Hingpit.
Other players in the women's division are: Pau Soriano and Bea Tan of Foton Hurricanes; Patty Orendain and Filoa Ceballos of Foton Tornadoes; Alileen Abuel and Rosan Fajardo of Philips Gold; Danica Gendrauli and Norie Jane Diaz of Gilligan's; Len Cortel and Samantha Dawson of Sonak; Evangeline Pastor and Kin Ygay of Quantum Plus A; Tripoli Aurora and Rochet Dela Paz of Quantum Plus B; and Cindy Benitez and Florence Madulid of Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco).
In the men's side, Cebuano powerhouses Jade Becaldo and Hachaliah Gilbuena will power SM By the Bay Team A, while Team B will be bannered by brothers Tim and Daniel Young.
Also seeing action are Fernando Alboro and Ronel Del Mundo for University of Perpetual Help Molino A; Emanuel Gamat and Paolo Alona of University of Perpetual Help Molino B; Sandy Montero and Edmar Bonono of Cignal A; Jay Dela Cruz and Emmanuel Luces of Cignal B; Michael Ian Conde and Karl Dela Calzada of Instituto Estetico Manila (IEM); and Angelo Espiritu and Nestor Molate of Champion Infinity A.
“We assure the fans that the battle in the men's division will also be exciting," Suzara said. "Playing on the sand is way different than playing indoors. So, brace yourselves because we guarantee that it will be an action-packed tournament from start to finish."