Danica Gendrauli overcame a sluggish start, a high fever and a hard-fighting Foton Tornadoes to tow Gilligan’s to a 19-21, 21-14, 15-11 victory and emerge as inaugural champion of the PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup 2015 powered by Smart Live More August 8 at Sands By the Bay in SM Mall of Asia.
Probably one of the best beach volley spikers from Cebu, Gendrauli kept the defense of Patty Orendain and Fiola Ceballos guessing down the stretch to win the women’s division crown of this prestigious tournament organized by Sports Core with Accel as official outfitter, Sands By the Bay as venue partner, Senoh as technical sponsor and Maynilad as official water provider.
Closing the tourney on a high note are Amy’s, which defeated Philips Gold for the seventh place, 21-11, 21-9; Meralco scored a victory by default over Petron XCS for the fifth place; and Cignal HD Spikers B pulled off a 21-18, 21-18 conquest of Foton Hurricanes for the bronze medal.
In the men’s division, Cignal HD Spikers copped the third place after winning by default over Centerstage in the men’s side which is also aired live over TV 5.
SM By The Bay A’s Jade Becaldo & Hachaliah Gilbuena take the championship over Champion Infinity B, 21-17, 23-21.
After suffering high fever in the past few days, Gendrauli still marched to the war zone with fire on her eyes following a pair of bitter setbacks from the hands of Ceballos and national team skipper Jovelyn Gonzaga in a commercial tournament in Boracay in 2012 and 2013.
Her partnership with defense specialist Norie Jane Diaz, however, started on a wrong foot as the Tornadoes managed to withstand all kinds of attacks thrown their way.
“We decided to change our target,” said Diaz, a 22-year old spiker from Perpetual and one of the vital cogs of Mane ‘N Tail in the recent PSL All Filipino Conference. “Fiola is so strong in her attacks. We couldn’t stop her. So we decided to give the first ball to Patty to take Fiola away from the attack zone.”
The plan paid a handsome reward as the Tornadoes failed to react to the blazing assaults of the Sisig Queens.
After squaring the count at one-set apiece, Gilligan’s opened the deciding set with a 5-3 advantage off a pair of aces by Gendrauli. Although the Tornadoes managed to tie it at 8, Gendrauli was too fast, too furious as she peppered the defense with a dizzying combination of long and short ball attacks.
“My temperature was 38.4-degree Celcius. I was really sick the past three days but I still did my best to train and come up with necessary preparations,” said Gendrauli, the former Southwester University star from Mandaue who won the beach volley crown in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc.
Gendrauli, however, was quick to dismiss speculations that she was out to settle an old score with Ceballos — the pride of Iloilo who emerged as the first Queen of the Sands.
“This is just a game, nothing personal,” she said. “I lost to her when I was still in college. Now that we’re already professional, we want to start on a clean slate. Iba na ang labanan ngayon.”
“Winning the title is really a great feeling. Our hard work paid off. Even in sickness, I still did my best to train because this is commitment, and I am committed to represent this team in the inaugural PSL Beach Volleyball tournament.”