HEIGHT doesn’t matter much in beach volleyball.
Skill, quickness, tenacity and stamina are more important in the hot, humid and stifling arena and the shifting surface of the sand court.
Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons of Petron Sprint 4T essayed a fitting ending to their perfect campaign when they demolished Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain of Generika-Ayala A, 21-12, 21-8, to emerge champions of the 2017 Belo Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup last night at the SM By the Bay in Mall of Asia.
Rondina, who plays for the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigresses, and Pons of the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws are relatively short. Both are undersized outside spikers for their respective UAAP squads.
They made up for their lack of height with power packed spikes, supreme athleticism and unbridled tenacity to finish the tournament with an immaculate unbeaten record.
Rondina was highly motivated to win the crown. After all she barely lost to Gonzaga in a dramatic final battle last year. She said her victory is very sweet as it came at the heels of winning the crown in the UAAP beach volleyball tourney.
“All of the country’s best beach volleyball players are here, so this win is something I should be proud of,” said the Campostela, Cebu-native in Filipino after winning the tourney without losing even a single set.
“It was a difficult battle. But in the end, everything is worth it.”
Rondina and Pons established themselves as the best sand players today. They were impressive from start to finish en route to winning the title of this prestigious tourney backed by Stoked, Mikasa, Mizuno, Senoh, Rebisco and SM By the Bay.
Settling for the bronze medal was the tandem of Bang Pineda and Frances Molina of Petron XCS. They edged the pair of Danika Gendrauli and Jackie Estoquia of Sta. Lucia, 10-21, 21-14, 15-9.
Ousted champion Jovelyn Gonzaga and Maica Morada of Cignal HD A claimed fifth place following a 21-15, 26-28, 15-11 thrashing of Mylene Paat and Janine Marciano of Cignal B.
Marijo Medalla and Bianca Tripoli of Perpetual took home seventh place after notching a 21-13, 21-19 triumph over Wensh Tiu and Abie Naval of Cocolife.
Also emerging with a crown were Anthony Arbastro and Calvin Sarte of Generika-Ayala, who clobbered EJ Ramos and Edmar Bonono of Cignal HD, 21-17, 21-18, in the finals of the men’s division.
Arbastro, a University of Santo Tomas standout and reigning UAAP beach volley champion, played with Sarte for the first time. The pair looked very comfortable with each other as they completed a seven-game sweep of this tourney, which also has TV5 as official broadcast partner.
Mike Abria and Edwin Tolentino of SM By the Bay settled for third place following a 21-19, 23-21 win over Rey and Relan Taneo of Perpetual Help in the classification round.
Arbastro, the tourney’s Most Valuable Player, said patience paid off as they didn’t panic despite trailing by three during the crucial stretch of the first set, 14-17.