The Philippines made history in the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships after rising stars Jayrack De la Noche and Alexander Iraya rallied from a set down to beat Estonia’s Karmo Saviauk and Kaur Erik Kais, 16-21, 21-15, 15-12, at the end of the pool rounds on Thursday in Phuket, Thailand.
After two tough losses, De la Noche and Iraya showed steely resolve in beating Saviauk and Kais to give the country its first-ever win in any world championship-level beach volleyball competition.
The Philippines had a chance to secure a spot in the Round of 24 after Australia’s Jack Pearse and Lucas Josefsen outlasted Thailand’s Narakorn Chumaphai and Veerayut Sopati, 17-21, 21-17, 15-7.
The Filipinos were actually tied with the Thais with a 1-2 win-loss record and were also level in points with four, but Narakorn and Veerayut clinched the third and last round-of-24 slot in Pool H by virtue of superior set ratio—4-4 to 2-5.
Estonia joined Australia in the knockout stage.
De la Noche and Iraya were very much in the game in the second set before losing to Narakorn and Veerayut, 15-21, 19-21, on opening day and put up a gallant stand in the opening set before dropping a 20-22, 9-21 decision to Pearse and Josefsen.
The Negrense pair will also compete in the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships slated December 14 to 19 also in Phuket.
Currently ranked No. 351 in the world, De la Noche and Iraya made a historic run to the quarterfinals of the Fourth Asian U21 Championships in Nakhon Pathom last July.
The Filipinos were fielded in the tournament by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation and backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Rebisco, Asics and Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.