BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – The country’s top beach volley athletes will once again converge in this paradise island and try to assert their supremacy as exciting action in the Nestea Fit Beach Volley Season 13 blasts off today under the backdrop of the sweltering summer heat.
Arnel Amadeo and Buensuceso Sayson of Dumaguete City’s Foundation University (FU) are all set to defend the men’s division title they won last year by outlasting James Ryan Rivera and Jonrey Sassing of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF).
Unfortunately, USPF failed to qualify for the national stage this time, leaving Cebu’s campaign for glory at the hands of Jade Becaldo and Precioso Bendijo of the University of the Visayas (UV) and Ariel Carumba and Louijei Tipgos of the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R).
Carumba and Tipgos face an uphill climb of clinching the crown that eluded the Spiking Jaguars of Cebu Sports Hall of Fame coach Grace Antigue for five years now. USJ-R won its last national title in 2004, then under the tandem of Michael Simbajon and Sasing.
The Luzon teams will be spearheaded by Joshua Alcarde and Jan Berlin Paglinawan of Far Eastern University (FEU), Eden Canlas and Erickson Joseph Ramos of Colegio de San Juan de Letran and Leonel Evan Laraya and James Christian Lorca of San Beda College.
Rounding up the equally-tough entries from Mindanao are regional champion Halim Khan and Mohammad Reza Asakil of Mindanao State University (MSU)- Tawi-tawi, Paul John Saraga and Galileo Mascardo of University of Mindanao(UM)–Davao and Maharlika Institute of Technology’s Mursaid Hadjirul and Mohammad Ali Maih.
In practically the same story in the women’s bracket as last year’s titlist Southwestern University (SWU) faltered in their quest to advance into the Bora showdown.
Erika Camille Verano and Apple Saraum of USPF are the only Cebu qualifier to the country’s most prestigous and grandest beach volley event. They will be coached by another Hall of Famer in Thelma Datig.
Also to watch out for is the formidable tandem of Julie Anne Billote and Ruby Rose Bordon from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) as well as Jackelyn Estoquia and Krystle Marie Suizo of the University of San Agustin (USA).
Entries from Luzon include Adamson University ’s Angela Benting and Lizlee Ann Gata, Far Eastern University’s Anna Camille Abanto and Marigail Tolentino, and University of Cordilleras’ Cindy Benitez and Mary Ann Biay.
The Mindanao belles who will try to prove their worth are UM-Davao’s Janice Arnaiz and Jennifer Conde, UM-Tagum’s Lourdilyn Catubag and Jestine Carla Gonzales, and Holy Cross of Davao College’s Aiza Armacion and Mykah Ramos.
The Nestea Fit Beach Volley National Circuit ’09 is sponsored by Ipanema, Speedo, Parkmall , Cebu, L’Oreal Paris Elseve, Nautilus by PJ Aranador, Mikasa, D’Mall D’Boracay, Tagum Beach Volleydrome at Rotary Park, Cebu Volleyball Association (CEVA), Hey! Jude Resort, Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel, La Carmela de Boracay Resort Hotel, and Crystal Sand Beach Resort. — Marigold P. Lebumfacil (THE FREEMAN)