Beach volley in spotlight

BORACAY – Rising stars Babylove Barbon and Gen Eslapor hope to make it to the tournament proper as they compete in the qualifiers of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Boracay Open which opens today at the White House Beach Station 1 here.

The standouts from the storied University of Santo Tomas beach volleyball program seek to bring the number of the Filipina pairs in the main draw to five when the qualification matches start at 7:30 a.m.

Sisi Rondina will be reunited with Bernadeth Pons in the four-day tournament organized by the Beach Volleyball Republic, which also includes other Filipina pairs Dij Rodriguez and Bea Tan, Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontaño, and Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain in the main draw.  

Barbon, who paired with Rondina in the Tigresses' remarkable three-peat conquest in the UAAP last September, are among the seven women's pairs vying for slots in tomorrow's main draw.

Before competing in the Beach World Tour, Barbon and Eslapon emerged victorious in the BVR on Tour Dumaguete Open last month.

“The goal of the BVR national tour is to give our local players an opportunity to increase their competition level to the international level," said BVR co-founder and tournament director Charo Soriano.

Air Force's Ranran Abdilla and Jesse Lopez will spearhead the country's men's campaign, which also includes collegiate standouts James Buytrago and Krung Arbasto, and Cebu's Mike Abria and Jade Becaldo.

“Teams have been training for this and we've been helping them through the BVR tours we've been holding," said Soriano.

The double-gender $10,000 Boracay Open, a one-star event is the 24th men’s and 23rd women’s event for the 2018-19 FIVB World Tour. The Beach World Tour returns to the Philippines for the second time following a double-gender one-star event in Manila last year.

The women’s and men’s main draw is set tomorrow, while the Round of 12, and quarterfinal matches is scheduled on Saturday. The semifinals and the medal matches will be played on Sunday.

The winning women's and men's teams will receive $1,000 prizes, while at the same time earning points to have a shot at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Finals.