THE Philippine beach volleyball teams’ training for next month’s AVC Continental Cup has shifted to full gear.
Now on their 10th day in the training bubble, the members of the women’s and men’s national pool train on three courts set up on the beach off Villa Del Mar Resort in Barangay Saud in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.
Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Ramon “Tats” Suzara paid a visit to the teams yesterday to oversee the preparations by head coaches Paul Jan Doloiras (women) and Rhovyl Verayo (men).
The players have been in the scenic Ilocos Norte resort town since May 18.
The Continental Cup — a qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics — will be played in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, starting on June 18.
The Philippines is no stranger to Continental Cup, having participated in the 2014-16 Olympic qualifying window.
In the first phase, the women’s tandems of Sisi Rondina and Elaine Kasilag, Gretchen Ho and Michelle Datuin placed second behind Malaysia in the Southeastern Asia developmental division with a 2-1 record, giving the Filipinas a spot to the zonal championships.
Rondina, member of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games bronze medal team, will make her second Continental Cup appearance next month.
Parading different pairs in Amanda Villanueva and Grethcel Soltones, and Bea Tan and Mich Morente, the Philippines missed a spot in the continental semifinals as it ended up in fifth place in the SEA Zone won by Thailand.
In the men’s side, the Philippines’ pairs of Jade Becaldo and Louijie Tipgos, and Edmar Bonono and Edward Ybañez, winning three of four matches, finished second behind to Cambodia in the SEA developmental division.
With different tandems of Becaldo and Ybañez, and Bonono and Jonrey Sasing, the Philippines was eliminated in the race for a slot in the continental semifinals, as it ranked fourth in the zonal championships.
The Philippines hopes to fare well this time around. (Theodore P. Jurado)