Gilligan’s and Foton Tornadoes survived their respective foes to book a finals duel in the PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup 2015 powered by Smart Live More late Saturday at the Sands By the Bay in SM Mall of Asia.
The Sisig Queens eked out a thrilling 21-23, 21-18, 15-13 win over Cignal HD Spikers B while the Tornadoes crushed Foton Hurricane with a 21-18, 21-18 decision in the semifinals of this prestigious tournament organized by Sports Core with Accel as official outfitter, Senoh as technical sponsor, Sands By the Bay as venue partner and Maynilad as official water provider.
The finals, which will be aired live over TV 5, is set next Saturday with SM By the Bay A facing Champion Infinity B to dispute the crown in the men’s division.
With former Southwestern University star Danica Gendrauli and Norie Diaz dominating on both ends, Gilligan’s peppered Philips Gold of Rossan Fajardo and Aileen Abuel in the quarterfinals, 21-9, 21-2, to arrange a battle with erstwhile unbeaten HD Spikers B of April Ross Hingpit and Wensh Tiu in the next round.
In the semis, the Sisig Queens had a sluggish start, prompting Gendrauli and Diaz to re-assess their game plan to make it difficult for Tiu and Hingpit to react.
“Pinag-usapan po namin mabuti kung sino ang tatargetin sa services namin para mahirapan sila mag-recieve at hindi sila maka-execute ng maayos,” said Gendrauli, who won a beach volley crown while playing in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. in 2012.
“Strategy and proper communication ang nagpabalik sa amin sa laro nung second set.”
But Gilligan’s was threatened again in the crucial stretch of the deciding set as Tiu rediscovered her deadly form in the attack zone, making Diaz work hard on their backline defense that threw the Sisig Queens off their comfort zones.
Fortunately, from a 13-all count, Tiu committed a crucial attack error followed by an ace from Diaz to seal the win for the Sisig Queens.
“Finals na, so practice pa muna kami,” said Gendrauli, looking forward to a re-match with Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain of the Foton Tornadoes who have been her bitter nemeses in some commercial beach volley competitions in the past.
“Medyo pamilyar na po kami sa kanila pero gagawa pa din po kami ng konting adjustments para masiguradong makukuha namin ang korona.”