It’s going to be an intense and personal battle as two of the best beach volleyball players from the Visayas lock horns in the finals of the PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup 2015 powered by Smart Live More on Aug 8 at the Sands By the Bay in SM Mall of Asia.
The pride of Iloilo, Fiola Ceballos of Foton Tornadoes, will renew her rivalry with Cebu’s best in Danica Gendrauli of Gilligan’s in the gold-medal match of this 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 match will be aired live over TV 5 and is expected to attract another overflowing crowd that is eager to witness the kind of intensity, action and drama never before seen in Philippine beach volleyball.
Also expected to generate attention is the title showdown in the men’s division between Hachaliah Gilbuena and Jade Becaldo of SM By the Bay A and Tippy Tipgos and Marjun Alingasa of Champion Infinity B.
Becaldo, one of the best sand spikers from the University of the Visayas, will again test the mettle of Tipgos, who used to campaign for University of San Jose-Recoletos. Their rivalry in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. will spill over in Manila when they clash for the crown and prestige of becoming the tournament’s inaugural champion.
A 20-year old Tourism senior from Central Philippine University, Ceballos is regarded as one of the best young players on the sand. In fact, just few weeks ago, she stole the thunder from a powerhouse field as she emerged as the country’s First Queen of the Sands.
Then, she partnered with another Ilongga in Patty Jane Orendain of Bacolod to tow the Torndaoes to a pair of victories in the classification before demolishing their sister team — Foton Hurricane — in the semifinals.
But the gold medal won’t be handed to her on a shiny silver platter.
Gendrauli, a 24-year old ace from Southwestern University, vowed to go all out, not only to win the crown, but also to avenge a pair of setbacks from the hands of Ceballos and her erstwhile partner, national team skipper Jovelyn Gonzaga, in a commercial beach volley tournament in the island of Boracay in 2012 and 2013.
“Sa regional tinalo namin sila, pero sa championship, talo kami sa kanila,” said Gendrauli, who went through the wringer before escaping with a tough three-set win over Cignal HD Spikers B in the semis. “Added motivation yun on my part. That’s why we’re training hard para mas maging maganda performance namin sa Sabado.”
Ceballos stressed that winning over Gendrauli is now a thing of the past.
Gendrauli, she said, had improved tremendously and her partnership with the defense-savvy Diaz makes her one of the most lethal players in this four-week tournament.
“Hindi ka man nya talunin sa lakas ng palo, pero tatalunin ka naman nya sa utak at diskarte,” said Ceballos, referring to Gendrauli who shone for Mane ‘N Tail in the recent PSL All-Filipino Conference.
“Beteranong beterano na po ang laro at diskarte ni Danica. Alam nya kung saan pababagsakin ang bola mapa-short ball man o long ball. Kaya dapat paghandaan namin sya kasi sobrang galing nya sa placing at drop shots.”
In the end, however, it will be an exciting showdown of will, desire, hunger and pride between two of the smartest and skilled beach volley players from the South.
“Kung sino ang mas uhaw, kung sino ang mas may gusto, sya ang mananalo,” Ceballos said. “Basta gagawin namin lahat at mage-ensayo kaming mabuti. We’ll treat it like an ordinary game. Laro lang po talaga, walang personalan.”