The country’s best volleyball players take their booming smashes and defensive gems to the sand as they compete in the inaugural PLDT Home Ultera-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup 2015 powered by Smart Live More at the Sands By the Bay in SM Mall of Asia on Saturday July 18.
The tandem of Cha Cruz and beach volley specialist Michelle Laborte of Cignal HD Spikers A is tipped to dominate the show as it battles the duo of Danika Gendrauli and Jane Diaz of Gilligan’s in the 2:30 pm encounter.
Filipino-American stunner Alexa Micek and Fille Cayetano of Petron Sprint 4T face Bea Tan and Pau Soriano of Foton Hurricane in the 3:20 pm clash that will be aired live over TV5 with Accel as official outfitter, Sands By the Ba as venue partner and Maynilad as official water provider.
The clash between Cignal A and Gilligan’s is expected to go down the wire since Laborte — the former University of St. La Salle-Bacolod star who won a bronze medal in the beach volley competition of the 23rd Southeast Asian Games in Manila in 2005 — will be stacked against Gendrauli, the beach volley queen of Cebu who won the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc (Cesafi) crown in 2011.
The Mountain Province tag-team of Cindy Benitez and Florence May Madulid of Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) will also be put to a supreme test when it tangles with reigning Queen of the Sand Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain of Foton Tornadoes at 4 pm followed by the tussle between the pretty pair of Charo Soriano and Gretchen Ho of Petron XCS and Wensh Tiu and April Ross Hingpit of Cignal HD Spikers B in the 4:40 pm battle of this prestigious tourney organized by Sports Core.
“What we have is a very busy opening-day schedule,” said PSL president Ramon “Tats” Suzara. “The format is designed in such a way that only the toughest team will survive. We guarantee that all the games will keep spectators at the edge of their seats because it’s going to be non-stop action from the opening serve up to the final kill.”
Samantha Dawson and Len Cortel of Amy’s will also collide with Evangeline Pastor and Kim Ygay of Accel Quantum Plus A-Perpetual Molino at 1 pm in the elimination round of the women’s division.
The tandem of Pastor and Ygay, however, will march back to the sand at 5:20 pm to clash with Rossan Fajardo and Aileen Abuel of Philips Gold.
Jem Guttierez and Jusabelle Brillo of Meralco will face Beneco at 6:20 pm, and Aurora Tripoli and Rochet Dela Paz of Accel Quantum Plus B-Perpetual Molino will settle the score against Cignal HD Spikers Team B at 7 pm.
Also tipped to provide excitement is the action in the men’s side where Champion Infinity A will collide with Perpetual Molino A at 7:30 am; SM By the Bay B will clash with Cignal HD Spikers A at 8:20 am; Cignal HD Spikers B will battle Perpetual Molino B at 9 am; Champion Infinity B will take on Instituto Estetico Manila (IEM) at 9:40 am; Centerstage will lock horns with Cignal HD Spikers A at 10:20 am; and Champion Infinity A will put an end to the morning hostilities as it challenges SM By the Bay B at 11 am.
“There are some names worth noting in the men’s division,” said Suzara, billed as the father of volleyball in the country having served as secretary-general of Philippine Amateur Volleyball Association in its glory years and member of the Asian Volleyball Confederation and International Volleyball Federation.
“However, the crown won’t be handed to them on a silver platter. There are other younger, hungrier players who are willing to give them a tough fight, making the men’s division equally exciting as the women’s side.”
Suzara was referring to the prolific Cebuano pair of Jade Becaldo and Hachaliah Gilbuena of SM By the Bay A which will be tested when it faces Ian Conde and Karl Dela Calzada of IEM at 7:40 pm while Cignal HD Spikers B will tangle with with Champion Infinity B at 8:20 pm to cap the very busy opening day.