A HEAVY cast of 20 local and international pairs will test their mettle as Dumaguete City pulled all the stops to make its first-ever hosting of the Beach Volleyball Republic On Tour a successful one starting on Monday.
Headlining the 10-team women's division are fan favorites Charo Soriano and Bea Tan of Perlas, and newly-crowned UAAP champion Babylove Barbon and Genesa Eslapor of University of Santo Tomas in the two-day spikefest which will be played at the Rizal Boulevard sand court.
Soriano had a successful comeback last month, teaming up with Tan in winning the El Nido championship, while Barbon, who joined forces with Sisi Rondina in topping the Manila Open last August, will have Eslapor as her new partner in the tour - the ninth leg for the year.
Among visiting women's players who will compete are Samaa Miyagawa of Japan, Tin Lai of Hong Kong and Tati Sablan of Guam, while Mitabashi Masato and Takashi Tsuchiya of Japan will also play in the men's side.
The BVR is now becoming a platform for former student-athletes to pursue playing beach volleyball even after college.
In fact, former UAAP champions KR Guzman and Krung Arbasto will reunite for the Tigers.
Guzman paired with Ian Yee in ruling the men's division in El Nido, while Arbasto was with Jaron Requinton in their successful Manila Open title run.
It will be the first time that BVR will bring its act in Dumaguete City, which is celebrating its 70th charter anniversary and fiesta, as the famed university town in Visayas looms to become one of the tour's regular venues like Ilocos Sur, Santa Ana, Cagayan and Cebu.
Other women's participants are Coyah Abanto and Jen Acain (Air Force), Erjane Magdato and Alexa Polidario (UNO-R), Mahriz Cosain and Bianca Lizares (USLS), Dij Rodriguez and Dannah Jimenez (Cebu), Angelina Damas and Grace Barrica (Dipolog), and Jennymar Senares and Jennifer Cosas (Bacolod).