First-time beach volley partners Rondina, Gervacio shock U.S. pair
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines' best bet in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open delivered right on the first day.
The duo of Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio stunned the United States tandem of Lindsey Fuller and Kaley Melville, 21-12, 21-16, at the start of the women's main draw on Friday, May 4, at the Sands SM By The Bay.
Although first-time partners in the sand court, Rondina and Gervacio banked on their smart plays, solid attacking and sharp service against the much-taller Americans to give the country a much needed win on a day where all other local pairs dropped their matches.
"We just played. We didn’t look at their perceived advantage over us and we didn’t think of how much bigger and taller they were,” said Rondina, who trained with Gervacio for only two weeks.
"What we did was just showcase what we were capable of, what we could be proud of as Filipinos in front of the crowd rooting for us,” she added.
Rondina is the most experienced among the Philippine team members, having played with Bernadeth Pons in last year's 29th Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in Singapore.
Other Filipinas debuting in the one-star tournament, though, were not as fortunate as they dropped their main draw openers.
DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia bowed to top-ranked Michelle Amarilla and Erika Bobadilla of Paraguay, 19-21, 13-21. Charo Soriano and Bea Tan were overwhelmed by Japan's Ayumi Kusano and Takemi Nishibori, 10-21, 9-21, while Karen Quilario and Lot Catubag lost to The Netherlands' Katja Stam and Julia Wouters, 13-21, 11-21.
Demontaño and Estoquia were in control in the opening frame, 12-9, but the Paraguayans rallied to win in straight sets.
Soriano and Tan valiantly battled against a superior Japanese side and Kusano even noted that the pair played “very good.”
Kusano had seen action in the Philippines 3 years ago when Japan won an invitational tournament at the Philsports Arena.
Despite the win, Kusano and partner Nishibori noted their struggle due to the hot weather and described the playing condition as “very difficult.”
In the men’s division, the Philippines also wound up winless in 4 matches.
Calvin Sarte and Jade Becaldo narrowly lost to Sweden's Martin Appelgren and Simon Boman, 24-26, 23-21, 13-15, while Ranran Abdilla and Edwin Tolentino also dropped a tight game against Hong Kong's Kevin Lao Tsz Ho and Wong Pui Lam, 18-21, 22-20, 10-15.
Kevin Juban and Raphy Abanto bowed to Austria's Florian Schetzer and Daniel Mullner, 10-21, 14-21, while KR Guzman and James Pecaña also took a straight-set loss to Chinese-Taipei's Wang Chin-Ju and Hsieh Ya-Jen, 20-22, 14-21. – Rappler.com