Cignal HD Spikers and Foton Hurricane survived the heavy rains and their tough-fighting foes to book semifinal seats in the PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup 2015 powered by Smart Live More yesterday at the Sands By the Bay in SM Mall of Asia.
Despite a 20-minute stoppage due to heavy downpour, Wensh Tiu and April Ross Hingpit of the HD Spikers B still sustained their deadly form to essay a 21-14, 21-18 victory over Meralco while Bea Tan and Pau Soriano of the Hurricane followed suit with a masterful 21-12, 18-21, 15-7 conquest of Petron XCS in the other quarterfinal pairing of this tournament organized by Sports Core with Accel as official outfitter, Senoh as techinical sponsor, Sands By the Bay as venue partner and Maynilad as official water provider.
The HD Spikers B will face the winner between Amy’s and Gilligan’s while the Hurricane will battle the survivor between Foton Tornadoes and Philips Gold in the semifinals which was scheduled later in the day.
Amy’s is still playing Gilligan’s while the Tornadoes are still clashing with Philips Gold as of press time.
Earlier, Petron Sprint 4T bagged the ninth place after dominating Accel Quantum Plus Perpetual Molino A, 21-14, 21-5, while Benguet Electric Cooperative crushed Accel Quantum Plus Perpetual Molino B, 21-8, 21-9, to settle for the 11th place.
In the men’s division, SM By the Bay A and Champion Infinity B booked a finals duel after overcoming their respective foes in contrasting fashion in the semifinals.
Powered by the Cebuano pair of Jade Becaldo and Hachaliah Gilbuena, SM By the Bay A dominated Centerstage, 21-13, 21-16, while Champion Infinity B threaded the eye of a needle before escaping Cignal HD Spikers A, 21-23, 22-20, 15-10.
Meanwhile, Cignal HD Spikers B outlasted Champion Infinity A, 21-17, 15-21, 16-14, to claim the fifth place; IEM clobbered Perpetual Molino A, 21-16, 21-8, to settle for the seventh place; and Perpetual Molino B claimed the 9th place after walking over SM By the Bay B.
But still, the day belonged to Tiu and Hingpit.
Ranged against Cebuano veteran Jusabelle Brillo and rising star Jem Gutierrez of University of Santo Tomas, Tiu and Hingpit came up with a vastly-improved game plan early on, leaving the Meralco pair groping for form on both ends.
Although torrential rainshower took its toll in the opening moments of the second set and forced the lively weekend crowd running for cover, Tiu and Hingpit refused to lose their momentum and marched back from a 20-minute stoppage with crispier attacks and more solid defense.
“In-enjoy lang namin talaga. It was all about having fun,” said Tiu, a beach volley veteran both in the NCRAA and UAAP as well as in other commercial tournaments. “Most of our training was under the rain so it’s not a big deal for us. We just executed what we learned during training.”
Meralco, which trains under former national team mentor Emil Lontoc, tried to score a last-minute push in the second set, 18-19 but Brillo committed an attack error followed by a service ace from Tiu to formally wrap up the intense and highly-exciting battle of wit, beauty and power that was aired live over TV5.
“Our focus right at the start of the tournament is to have consistent services and solid defense,” said Tiu. “Fortunately, we came up with good executions while we enjoying the game at the same time.”