It’s more than just medals at stake for beach spikers
There are much bigger things in store for the Philippine beach volleyball teams when they see action on Friday in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.Aside from gunning for a medal in the tournament, Cherry Rondina, Bernadeth Pons, Angeline Gervacio and Floremel Rodriguez are likewise in the hunt for seats in the AVC Continental Cup Finals next year.
The same target has been set by the men’s squad of Jude Garcia, Edmar Bonono, James Buytrago and Anthony Lemuel Arbasto, who will also begin their campaign on Friday at Subic Tennis Court.
“We have been waiting for this opportunity to bring pride to our country,’’ team manager Charo Soriano said.
The Beach Volleyball Republic founder added both teams have been training at the venue since Friday last week for them to get used to the sand and lighting conditions.
It was in the 2005 SEA Games, hosted by the country, when the Philippines last captured the gold medal in the event, courtesy of the Filipino-American pair of Diane Pascua and Heidi Ilustre.
Gold medalists in the men’s and women’s divisions will move to the third phase of the AVC Continental Cup Finals in June next year, while silver-medal performers will progress to the second phase of the meet (semifinals) at the early part of the year.
The champion of the continent will be rewarded with a berth in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“We are fortunate to be early in the venue. We’ve been training in the morning and in the evening; both teams are preparing hard for the Games,’’ Soriano said.
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