MANILA, Philippines—After leading the Philippine women’s beach volleyball team to back-to-back Southeast Asian Games bronze medals, Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons will have different partners in their bid to surpass the country’s previous finishes in Cambodia starting on May 11 at Otres Beach in Preah Sihanouk (Sihanoukville) Province.
Rondina will be teaming up with Jovelyn Gonzaga as the two played like a match made in heaven, winning the gold medal in the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Futures in Subic last December.
“Honestly, I felt a lot of pressure because knowing Sisi’s level of competitiveness compared to me, who is already at this age. So I need to keep up with her energy,” said Gonzaga in Filipino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards last month. “I’m thankful to Sisi because we always talk and compromise. Every single day, I’m giving my best effort. Because I always tell her that she needs a lot of patience because I’m still in the adjustment stage.”
“We’re just trusting the process and we believe we will get there,” she added.
Pons will be paired with Dij Rodriguez, who was also part of the team’s two consecutive bronze medals and a silver medalist in the World Beach Pro Tour Futures.
The Philippine men’s beach volleyball team, which also won successive bronzes in the past two SEA Games, will be leaning on the same squad led by Ranran Abdilla, Jaron Requinton, and Jude Garcia.
James Buytrago, who was part of the team’s first podium in 2019 but missed the action last year in Vietnam, will be returning in the biennial meet.
Brazilian coach Joao Luciano Simao Barbosa will handle both squads with Romnick Rico as the women’s assistant coach and Rosemarie Prochina as the team manager. Rhovyl Verayo will serve as an assistant coach in the men’s squad with John Paulo Agir as the strength and conditioning coach.