Japan, Thailand rule Boracay beach volleyball World Tour
BORACAY, Philippines – Satono Ishitsubo and Asami Shiba made short work of Sakurako Fujii and Minori Kumada, 21-14, 21-18 to capture the women's gold medal in an all-Japan finale Sunday, May 26, in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open presented by Globe at the White House Beach Station 1 here.
Shiba capped her unbeaten run with Ishitsubo with a drop shot to foil Fujii and Kumada's bid to extend the match.
Chalking up their second career victory, Shiba and Ishitsubo displayed their superior skills on offense and defense that made them No. 86 in the world in front of a packed Sunday crowd that filled the beachfront in this island resort's first sporting event since last October's reopening.
Narongdet Kangkon and Banlue Nakprakhong of Thailand took the men's gold by topping Japanese qualifier Yuya Ageba and Nobuaki Taira, 19-21, 22-20, 15-8, in the four-day tournament organized by the Beach Volleyball Tournament.
The Thais rallied in the 2nd set after their opponents first reached championship point to force a decider which they dominated.
In the semifinals, Japan was assured of winning a second consecutive Beach World Tour women's gold in the Philippines as Ishitsubo and Shiba swept Brittany Kendall and Stefanie Weiler of Australia, 21-16, 21-17, and Sakurako and Kumada topped Tjasa Jancar and Tjasa Kotnik of Slovenia, 21-15, 18-21, 19-17.
Kendall and Weiler nipped Jancar and Kotnik, 24-26, 21-13, 15-13, to claim 3rd place.
The Philippines matched its 5th place finish in the Manila Open last year behind Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons.
The country has shown improvement in the Beach World Tour, with Bea Tan and Dij Rodriguez also making it to the Round of 12, while Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontaño putting up a tough fight against the tough Russian pair of Ekaterina Filina and Ekaterina Zazhigina before exiting in pool play.
Ageba and Taira overcame Simon Baldauf and Maximilian Trummer of Austria, 21-17, 16-21, 15-12, in a thunderstorm-delayed semifinals while Narongdet and Banlue thwarted an all-Japanese men's final with an 18-21, 21-18, 19-17 win over Jumpei Ikeda and Katsuhiro Shiratori.
Ikeda and Shiratori rallied from a set down to outlast Baldauf and Trummer, 16-21, 26-24, 16-14, and clinch the bronze medal. – Rappler.com