Coming soon: Beach volleyball for a cause

December 06, 2018

BEACH volleyball takes a new meaning when former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC)  Commissioner Tisha Abundo launches her newest advocacy in sports starting next year.

Abundo, who is widely credited for helping raise the popularity of beach volleyball in the country in the last few years, said preparations are now underway to hold more beach volleyball competitions in select cities and provinces around the country.

“But this time, it’s not just about beach volleyball. It’s not just about beautiful ladies with beautiful faces with tremendous volleyball skills,” said Abundo during her appearance at the “Usapang Sports” presented by the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila yesterday.

“It’s also about environment – helping raise awareness about a clean and safe environment where we can play exciting beach volleyball for a cause,” added the 69-year-old Abundo, a former national volleyball player who served as commissioner of the PSC from 1998 to 2001.

Abundo, at 17 the youngest player to represent the country in the volleyball competitions in the 1966 Asian Games in Bangkok, said she is now helping a private group which intends to work with local government units to help clean the environment and hold beach volleyball tournaments.

The group --  Bounties of the Ocean, an international foundation which focuses on preserving the pristine conditions of the world’s oceans and seas --  will be tapped to help in the project.

“I have a lot of friends – beautiful friends – in the beach volleyball community who are willing to lend a hand in this noble cause. They will help us reach out to people and raise awareness about the importance of a clean environment by playing beach volleyball,” added Abundo, a Presidential Awardee as “National Female Volleyball Player of the Year” in 1969.

Abundo, who also represented the country in the World University Games in Tokyo, Japan in 1967 and the Asian Zonal Volleyball Championships in Manila in 1974, said Olongapo was included in the list of cities to be tapped as venues for the said beach volleyball competitions.

“I have initially talked to the Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino about the  plan. The  good mayor is  a long-time supporter of sports and he is willing to help,” explained  Abundo, a  former  member of Karilagan Arts International and signature model for well-known fashion designers Ben Farrales and Pitoy Moreno in the 70s.

“But there are other cities and municipalities whose coastal areas need our attention. We will go there and help clean them up,” she added.

“This is really the hardest part. ‘Yung magsimula uli, but I’m doing this not only for our beach volleyball players but also to help  conserve and  preserve the beauty of our seas.”

Aside  from Abundo, the other guests in the weekly sports session supported by the NPC under president Rolando “Lakay” Gonzalo were Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre and GM Jayson Gonzales, who talked about the Asian Continental Chess Championships in Manila.