THE Philippines’ Dij Rodriguez and Gen Eslapor reached to the women’s Round of 16, while Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons fell short on its first Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships match in Phuket, Thailand yesterday.
Rodriguez and Eslapor made short work of Sri Lanka 2’s Deepika Bandara and Malsha Priyamali Manis Hewage Hashini, 22-20, 21-12, for its first win in three Pool A games.
Rondina and Pons, on the other hand, suffered a heartbreaking 21-13, 20-22, 12-15 loss to Japan 3’s Asami Shiba and Takemi Nishibori in Pool D.
After their gallant efforts in last Tuesday’s opening day losses to Australia 1’s Phoebe Bell and Georgia Johnson and National Olympic Committee of Thailand 1’s Paravatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee, Rodriguez and Eslapor finally earned a breakthrough, needing only 33 minutes to keep the Sri Lankans winless in the continental competition.
The newly-minted BVR on Tour Santa Ana champions rallied from a 11-17 hole to level at 20-20, but the Japanese side scored a go-ahead kill and capitalizing a Filipino error on the next rally to extend the match.
Shiba, familiar to Philippine fans having led Japan to a FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open 1-Star gold medal in 2019, and Nishibori then displayed superiority in the decider to close out the thrilling 53-minute match.
Rondina and Pons were sensational on both ends of the sand court in the first set victory, before Shiba and Nishibori came back in the second set.
Regardless of their Pool D standing, Rondina and Pons are already through the Round of 16 as there are only four pairs in their group.
Rondina and Pons are playing National Olympic Committee of Thailand 2’s Taravadee Naraphornrapat and Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee as of press time. They will face Australia 3’s Alisha Stevens and Jana Milutinovic at 9:50 a.m. (Manila time) today.
Rodriguez and Eslapor will wrap up their Pool A assignments against Kazakhstan 1’s Alina Rachenko and Anastassiya Ukolova at 9 a.m. (Manila time) today.
The men’s pairs of Jude Garcia and Krung Arbasto, and AJ Pareja and James Pecaña drew a bye yesterday and will go all-out for the victory today to remain in the competition.
Only the top two from each pool in the men’s division will advance to the knockout stage.
Garcia and Arbasto will face Singapore’s Kingsley Tay and Melvin Goh Teng Kuan in the 10:40 a.m. (Manila time) Pool C match, while Pareja and Pecaña go up against NOCT 2’s Kangkon Narongdet and Kaewsai Dunwinit at 11:30 a.m. (Manila time).