Six Philippine teams in Beach Pro Tour

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Six Philippine teams, three men and three women, will hit the sands to play in the Beach Pro Tour Futures in Subic with the qualifiers starting tomorrow and the main draw set on Dec. 9 to 11. Its the third major international event that the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) is hosting this year after the Nations League in June and the Asian Womens Cup in August. PNVF president Ramon (Tats) Suzara said next year, the country will host the Challenge beach volleyball competition which is the worlds second highest level behind the Elite 16.

The Beach Pro Tour Futures will showcase 46 teams in both men and women from 17 countries. There are 12 teams ticketed for the main draw and four additional slots will be awarded to survivors of the one-day qualifiers. In the mens division, booked for the main draw are three Philippine teams, two from Oman, two from Thailand and one each from Latvia, Gambia, Japan, Israel and Lithuania. Four slots await the top finishers of the 12-team qualifiers involving three pairs from Japan, two from the Czech Republic, two from Thailand, two from Australia and one each from New Zealand, Austria and Israel.

In the womens division main draw, the 12 automatic entries are three from the Philippines, two from Japan, two from Thailand, two from Singapore and one each from Lithuania, Israel and the Czech Republic. Tickets will be issued to the top four placers in the 10-team qualifiers involving five tandems from Japan, two from Korea and one each from Singapore, Canada and France.

The three mens teams from the Philippines are Jude Garcia and Krung Arbasto, Ranran Abdilla and Jaron Requinton and James Buytrago and Pol Salvador. The three womens teams are Dij Rodriguez and Jen Eslapor, Sisi Rondina and Jovs Gonzaga and Grydelle Matibag and Khylem Pragella. Coach for the six pairs is Brazilian Jaoa (Kiodai) Barbosa who arrived to take on the job assigned by the FIVB last week. Barbosa is the second Brazilian coach for the Philippines after Jorge Edson Souza de Brito with womens indoor volleyball. FIVB has submitted a list of three Brazilian candidates for PNVF to choose as the mens indoor volleyball coach. Suzara said the third coach is expected in January.

Beach volleyball is high in PNVFs agenda and Suzara said hes arranging to expose the mens and womens teams to international conditions through training camps in Nagoya for two weeks and Rio de Janeiro for three weeks next year. “Its play, win, play, win for us and we wont stop improving our level of competition,” said Suzara.

Rondina, 26, said shes ready to go all out in the Subic meet. The four-time UAAP beach volleyball MVP said shes comfortable playing with Gonzaga after pairing with Bernadette Pons, Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez in previous competitions. “Ako ang defender at si Jovs ang blocker,” she said. “Palagi kaming nag-uusap sa loob ng court, OK ang chemistry namin at buti na lang matangkad si Jovs.” Arbasto, 25, said he partnered with Garcia at the Asian Championships in Phuket where they took the Philippines to fifth place, the countrys highest finish in 14 years. They were UAAP rivals once as Arbasto was with UST and Garcia with FEU. But now, theyre partners and Arbasto said their teamwork is super solid. Arbasto said the men will try to steal the limelight from the women in Subic.


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