Rondina, Pons gear up for 2019 SEA Games beach volleyball

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines' biggest medal hopes Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons look to make a huge impact in the 2019 Rebisco Beach Volleyball International Open starting Friday, November 15, at the Sands SM By The Bay.

The country's top beach volleyball duo, excited for the sport's inclusion in the SEA Games, believes the 20-team meet will serve as a great opportunity to get warmed up for the regional biennial meet. 

"Of course, it's for the experience and preparation for the Southeast Asian Games. We are very excited," said Rondina, a four-time UAAP champion for Universityof Santo Tomas. (ATHLETE'S CORNER: Sisi Rondina pours out love for volleyball)

Pons, who paired with Rondina in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 1-Star last May in Boracay, knows that the three-day spikefest will help them warm up for the SEA Games.

"Nakakatuwa na nalaman namin na may liga na may mga international teams na pupunta kasi kailangan namin ng exposure. Sobrang beneficial," said Pons. 

(It's great that we found out that there's a tournament with international teams joining because we need the exposure. It's really beneficial.) 

The pair started training last September, where Rondina and Pons focused on their endurance and bonding in the sand court.

"Everyone knows kung paano kaming maglaro as SiPons (Sisi-Pons) tandem, so we will do our best," said Rondina. 

(Everyone knows how we play as the SiPons tandem, so we will do our best.) 

The other Philippine women's pair of Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez will join the star pair in the SEA Games beach volleyball tournament slated to happen on December 1 to 6 at the Subic Tennis Courts. 

Among the top international women's teams to watch out in the Open tournament are Thailand's Parawun Chanthawchai and Mukdao Suchamong, and Paweena Wong-aksorn and Duanpen Arsa, and New Zealand's Renei Ursem and Olivia MacDonal.

Other Filipinas competing are rising stars Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor of reigning UAAP champion University of Santo Tomas, and sand court veterans DM Demontaño and Jackie Estoquia of Sta. Lucia.

Top Filipino standouts Edmar Bonono and Jude Garcia, and Krung Arbasto and James Buytrago will banner the country's campaign in the men's side along with Pol Salvador and Pemie Bagalay.

Games will start at 7:30 am and admission is free.  – Rappler.com