NBA
Asian beach volleyball unfolds
() - February 11, 2000 - 12:00am

Backstopped by two Atlanta Olympics veterans, Japan emerges as the team to beat when the first Nestea Asian Beach Volleyball Women's Invitational comes off the wraps today at the CCP Complex.

Chiho Torii and Teruko Nakano, who anchored Japan's campaign in the Atlanta Olympics, will be at the forefront of Japan's determined bid to top the tournament, which serves as the first leg of the Asian Circuit for the year 2000.

Torii, a 29-year-old garments company employe from Kyoto, Japan, will anchor Team Japan 1 in tandem with 18-year old Natsuko Komatsu.

Nakano, on the other hand, teams up with another veteran in the 30-year-old Kaori Tuschia, who is coming off a grueling campaign in the European Circuit in Brazil.

"We are going to be champions here," said Tetsuo on the eve of the three-day tournament jointly organized by the Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association (PAVA) and Cervo Concepts, Inc., and sponsored by Nestle Philippines, Inc., Honda Car, Phils., Elf Lubricants, Bayview Hotel, Speedo and Mikasa, the official ball.

The Japanese, however, expect stiff opposition from Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Australia boasts of the power-playing tandem of Summer Lochowicz and Sue Himbeck, currently the no. 4 team in Australia, where there are no less than 30 beach volleyball teams.

Also out to challenge the Japanese is the pair of Emma Prowse and Cindy Godwin, Australia's seventh-ranked team.

Lochowicz, a 21-year-old scholar of the Queensland Academy of Sports and a bartender by profession, and Himbeck, a school teacher, are ranked no. 3 in Asia. Both admit, however, that Japan would be very tough to beat.

New Zealand likewise sent its top team composed of Angel Stojanovic and Lucy Todd, both seasoned campaigners who are teaming up for the first time in this event.

Indonesia, meanwhile, will be anchored by Timy Yudhani and Yohana

Elizabeth, who are familiar names in the Asian Circuit.

Yudhani was part of the team that won the gold in the Jakarta SEA Games (with former partner Enggle Bertha), while Elizabeth saw action in the Asian Games, where she and partner ended up in sixth place.

Also seeing acting in the tournament are two young teams from Thailand, two teams from Hong Kong, a team from Malaysia and two teams from the host country.

Donning the country's colors are Gina Miguel, Sheryl Tumayao and Jennifer Bohawe of San Sebastian College, and Rosalyn Labay of University of Sto. Tomas.

Of the four, Miguel is the most experienced. A member of the national pool, Miguel saw action in the 1998 Asian Games (with former partner Helen Doscos) and in the Asian Circuit in Thailand last year.

Tumayao, on the other hand, is a veteran campaigner in the Nestea beach volleyball tournaments.

Asian Beach Volley Council chairman Anthony Liao said that it's all systems go for the tournament, which starts at eight this morning.

"We're ready and we're excited. Of course, we'd like to invite everybody to watch and join the fun starting today until Sunday," said Liao.

At stake in the tournament is a cash pot of $5,000 with $1,500 going to the top team after the three-day event.

ANGEL STOJANOVIC AND LUCY ANTHONY LIAO ASIAN ASIAN BEACH VOLLEY COUNCIL ASIAN CIRCUIT ASIAN GAMES ATLANTA OLYMPICS BAYVIEW HOTEL BOHAWE OF SAN SEBASTIAN COLLEGE NEW ZEALAND TEAM
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