MANILA, Philippines – A Japanese pair spoiled the Final Four bid of the last Philippine team left standing.
Filipino bets Sisi Rondina and Dzi Gervacio bowed to the Japanese duo of Shinako Tanaka and Fujii Sakurako, 21-13, 17-21, 15-11, in the quarterfinal round of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open on Saturday, May 5, at the Sands SM By The Bay.
The deciding set proved to be tight early as both pairs remained locked at 7 midway, before the Japanese outscored the Rondina-Gervacio tandem, 5-1, on the way to way to claiming victory.
“We may have failed here, but we learned a lot,” said Rondina
Japan pulled away from a 4-4 tie in the first set with an 8-2 spurt, 12-6, and kept padding on the lead for a one-sided opening frame, 21-13.
But the Filipinos came back strong in the second set as they took control early before Rondina wrapped it up with back-to-back hits, 21-17, that sent the match to a deciding set.
Rondina and Gervacio advanced to the Round of 12 after picking up their second win in three matches with a 21-17, 21-17 conquest of Canada’s Caleigh Cruickshank and Megan Nagy on Saturday morning.
With modest expectations of playing well against international, battle-tested sand court veterans, Gervacio said she’s satisfied with her maiden partnership with Rondina in the one-star tournament.
“Ako, hindi ko talaga inii-expect na malayo ang mararating namin. Na aabot kami ng Day 2,” said Gervacio, one of the founders of Beach Volleyball Republic. “Kasi, ako personally, I haven’t trained internationally. And I know for a fact na matatangkad ang kalaban natin. But from the get-go, noong nakalaban namin ang USA, alam ko may pag-asa tayo.”
(I really didn’t expect that we’ll go far, that we’ll reach Day 2. I personally haven’t trained internationally. And I know for a fact that our opponents are tall. But from the get-go, when we faced USA, I felt we had a chance.)
Against the Canadians,Rondina and Gervacio compensated for the size disadvantage with solid defense in the sand and by playing smart.
The duo somehow avenged the loss of fellow Filipina bets Charo Soriano and Bea Tan, who got eliminated by the Canadians, 12-21, 15-21, in the losers’ bracket Friday.
Rondina and Gervacio split their first two assignments. The duo pulled off a shocker in the Friday opener by disposing of Americans Lindsey Fuller and Kaley Melville, 21-12, 21-16, in the women’s main draw.
The pair put on another valiant effort against Spain’s Paula Soria and Maria Belen Carro, but lost in a narrow 20-22, 21-23 decision.
Earlier, the other local pair of Lot Catubag and Karen Quilario of the PNP bowed out after a grueling 34-36, 23-25, 15-17 loss to Thailand’s Thatsarida Singchuea and Pawarun Chanthawichai.
Catubag and Quilario reached match point late in the second frame and twice in the deciding set, but the pair from Tagum could not close out against the young Thai duo, the newly-minted Asian U19 beach volleyball champions.
“More teamwork and more practice,” said Quilario after the match.
After Thailand gained match point, the Philippines needed a medical timeout as Catubag went down with cramps. She eventually returned to the sand, but the Thais were able to complete the kill in the tournament’s most exciting match that sent every set to extension.
If given the chance to play more FIVB World Tour events outside the country, the reigning two-time Beach Volleyball Republic national champions are willing to join to gain more experience.
“Gusto naming maglaro kahit saan para exposure na rin,” said Quilario.
(We’re willing to play anywhere for exposure.)
“Kung bibigyan kami ng pagkakataon, iga-grab namin ang opportunity na maglaro ng ganitong level. Maraming gustong maglaro pero bihira lang ang magbigyan ng pagkakataon sa ganitong competition,” said Catubag.
(If given the chance, we’ll grab the opportunity to play at this level. There are so many who want to play, but it’s rare to be given a chance to be in this kind of competition.)
In other Round of 12 matches, Germany’s Lisa-Sophie Kotzan and Leonie Klinke prevailed over The Netherlands Katja Stam and Lisa Wouters, 21-11, 21-19, while the United States’ Lindsey Fuller and Kaley Melville beat Norway’s Janne Pedersen and Hanne Zylstra, 21-15, 21-17.
The men’s Round of 12 saw Spain’s Javier and Alejandro Huerta upset Martin Appelgren and Simon Boman of top-seed Sweden, 24-22, 21-15, to make it to the quarters.
Felix Friedl and Maximillian Trummer defeated Jorg Wutzl and Simon Fruhbauer, in an all-Austrian duel, 23-21, 21-19, of the event promoted by E-Plus Global Sdn Bhd and organized by Beach Volleyball Republic Inc.
Russia’s Petr Bakhnar and Taras Myskivsurge got past Chinese Taipei Wang Chin-Ju and Hsieh Ya-Jen, 21-14, 21-8, while Australia’s Marcus Fegurson and Tom Dickson swept Hong Kong’s Kevib Lau Tsz Ho and Wong Pui Lam, 21-15, 21-15. – Rappler.com