Petron XCS dug deep into its well of experience as it clobbered Sta. Lucia Realty A, 21-8, 21-11, to clinch the title of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup yesterday at the Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia.
Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons displayed their deadly form early on to frustrate Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontaño en route to defending their crown in this prestigious summer spectacle bankrolled by PLDT, Sunsilk, Isuzu, Senoh, Mikasa, Maynilad, Petron, SM Malls, Generika Drugstore and UCPB Gen.
Earlier, Generika-Ayala A crushed F2 Logistics 21-7, 21-14, to clinch the bronze medal of this battle that also has ESPN5 and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.
Also emerging victorious was Lemuel Arbastro and Kris Roy Guzman of Foton, who shocked erstwhile-undefeated Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad of SM By the Bay, 21-15, 21-15, to bag the gold medal in the men’s division.
It was a sweet revenge for the nephew and uncle duo from University of Santo Tomas, which lost to Bagunas and Natividad of National University in the UAAP Season 80 men’s beach volleyball tournament.
“It’s a big deal for me and KR after they defeated us in the UAAP,” said Arbasto. “When we heard that they will be competing, we were motivated to meet them again in the finals and, this time, to win against them.”
“In our first meeting (during the preliminary round), they defeated us in straight sets, that’s why my uncle, KR, told me that we should adjust and target their weakness, which was long balls and smart hits at the back,” added Arbasto.
Philip Bagalay and Gregory Utupo of Smart grabbed the bronze medal in men’s play following a 21-16, 22-20 win over Jessie Lopez and Mike Abria of Cignal.
But all eyes were on the tandem of Rondina and Pons.
After blowing hot and cold in their first couple of matches, the prized pair showed up with fire in its eyes as it shattered the match wide open after turning a slim 6-5 advantage into a 20-8 lead in the first set.
The Lady Realtors tried to pump life into their golden hopes as they opened the second set trailing by a slim margin, 10-13, but they committed three consecutive errors while Rondina and Pons stepped on the gas to capture the championship point, 20-11.
“We had a hard time because all the opponents were very competitive,” said Pons, adding that they were at their best from start to finish despite very limited time to train due to their respective UAAP commitments.
“We just simply wanted to win. We wanted to beat all of our opponents and this is the result.”
A down the line attack by Rondina formally gave the Blaze Spikers their back-to-back beach volleyball title.
“We’re glad to survive another tough tourney,” said Rondina. “I want to say thank you to (Pons). At least our connection is still there.”
Champion Petron XCS: Cherry Ann Rondina and Bernadette Pons
Second: Sta Lucia Team A: Dhannylaine Demontano and Jackielyn Estoquia
Third: Generika Ayala Team A: Patty Jane Orendain and Fiola Ceballos
Fourth: F2 Logistics: Fritz Joy Gallenero and Michelle Morente
Fifth: Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy: Maria Nieza Viray and Jeziela Viray
Sixth: Cignal Team A: Mylene Paat and Rapril Aguilar
Seventh: Sta Lucia Team B: Jonah Sabete and Bianca Gabrielle Lizares
Eight: Cignal Team B: Cherry May Vivas and Jannine Navarro
Champion Foton: Kris Roy Guzman and Lemuel Arbasto
Second: SM Sands By The Bay: Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad
Third: Smart: Philip Michael Bagalay and Gregory Utupo
4th: Cignal: Mika Abria and Jessie Lopez